Texas Rangers: Beat Yanks, Deal With Shaky Bullpen

Rangers OF Adolis Garcia has been patrolling the outfield with success this season.
Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Wiley Singleton

The Texas Rangers began a four game set against the hated New York Yankees after a catastrophe in Cincinnati. That best of three against the Reds was the biggest disaster in Cincinnati since Pete Rose’s betting scandal. The Rangers went into the set against the Yanks with the Angels and Astros on their heels. The A’s are a joke and the Mariners lost their ace, Robbie Ray, for the season. The Rangers took on the team that decimated them in their first three playoff appearances (96, 98, 99) in this crucial best of four.

Game 1 – Top tier ace Gerrit Cole started for the Yanks. The Yankees are undefeated in his starts this season. He is a top 5 pitcher in baseball similar to Jacob deGrom. He uses a blistering fastball and hard slider to overpower his opponents. Cole got to face a beleaguered Rangers lineup missing 2 hitter Corey Seager and 5 hitter Josh Jung. The Yanks were missing their cleanup hitter, Giancarlo Stanton. Giancarlo “Softon” is hurt again, despite not having to play defense and getting to DH all the time. He is a one-dimensional gimmick player that can hit bombs and nothing else. The Yanks went into this series with the worst offense they have had in years. To put in perspective how bad the Yanks offense is, they frequently start two former Rangers: Isiah “IKF” Kiner-Falefa and Willie Calhoun. Calhoun is a terrible player who wants to play Call of Duty on a professional level. IKF is a Punch and Judy slap hitter without a true position. The Rangers offloaded these two sewer players to the Yanks but of course got nothing of value back. The Yanks went into this series ranked bottom five in batting average. Their lineup was shallow, just like the Rangers. 

The Yanks got out to an early 3-0 lead when Andrew Heaney ran into trouble in the 2nd inning. Heaney has been very inconsistent this season. When he is on, he is simply electric, like when he struck out 9 batters in a row earlier in the season. When he is not on, he is very bad; frequently hanging sliders and getting into nightmare innings. The 2nd inning was a nightmare to be sure, beginning with two homers. Heaney allowed another run before striking out the carries of the Yanks offense: Aaron Judge and Anothony Rizzo. Cole mowed down the toothless Rangers attack with the alacrity of John Rocker exiting the New York subway.

Heaney found his groove after the brutal 2nd inning and matched 0’s with Cole for the rest of his start. He lasted 6 IP, turning in a quality start. Aaron Judge was injured in this game. It is a minor injury he will return from in a week. But Judge going down means the Rangers got to face the Yanks without Judge or Stanton. The most important moment of the game occurred in the 6th inning when the Rangers trailed 3-0. Marcus Semien began the inning with a weak single. Robbie Grossman followed with an equally flaccid hit. Nate Lowe then drew a walk to load the bases. The Yankees pitching coach visited the mound after the bases were loaded. The bullpen lay dormant as the Yanks ace was allowed to work out of his own jam. The most important AB of the game occurred when Cole overpowered Adolis Garcia and struck him out. Jonah Heim then beat a ball into the ground and was almost doubled up at first. Ezequiel Duran then hit an unimpressive infield single before Josh Smith made the third out. 

The Rangers never threatened again. The Yanks tacked on an insurance run against the suddenly inconsistent Jose Leclerc. The score remained 4-2 as Michael King notched the final 3 outs of a 6 out save. Loss 4-2.

Game 2 – The best pitcher in baseball, Jacob deGrom, started for the Rangers. He retired 10 straight before feeling tightness in his forearm and leaving the game. He was replaced by the Rangers best bullpen arm, Dane Dunning. Dane Stunning has been incredible this season. He gave up 2 runs over 3.1 IP. Outfielder Robbie Grossman was the DH this game and was incredible. He collected 3 hits and 2 RBI. He also scored 2 runs. Josh Jung made his return after missing a brief period of time with a sore hand after getting pegged. He went hitless in this game, but his presence is insanely important without Corey Seager. The Rangers jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in this game against Clarke Schmidt in this game and never looked backed. Win 5-2. 

Game 3 – Former Red Sox ace Nathan Eovaldi started this game for the Rangers. It was incredibly important for him to perform well considering deGrom’s injury. Eovaldi was simply exceptional in this game. He commanded the big stage like Iron Maiden’s frontman Bruce Dickenson. Eovaldi pounded the zone with his heater and collected 8 strikeouts with his slider. Youngster Ezequiel Duran hit a 2 run shot for the Rangers in 5th. He is officially the best Zeke in Texas now that self-absorbed soft stooge Zeke Elliot is no longer a Dallas Cowboy. Zeke Elliot completely checked out after he got his big contract. It would be shocking to see Zeke Elliot sign with a new team and return to prime form. He has been checked out for years. Eovaldi turned in a complete game shutout that a team with bullpen issues and a hurt ace badly needed. Win 3-0.

Game 4 – Crafty lefty Nasty Nestor Cortes started for the Yanks and ran into trouble early. He walked Robbie Grossman and Nate Lowe in the 1st inning back to back. Adolis Garcia hit a single after to load the bases. Josh Jung came up to the plate and unleashed a devastating swing that sent the ball into the seats to make the game 4-0 Rangers. Rangers lefty Martin Perez was very good as usual. He went 6 IP and gave up 1 ER. The Rangers entered the 5th inning up 4-1. They proceeded to butcher the Yankees beyond recognition. 

The Rangers unleashed a brutal torrent of destruction in the 5th and 6th innings. They hung four runs on the Yanks in the 5th and six in the 6th. By the end of the 6th there were no Yankees fans left in Rangers Stadium. The obnoxious fairweather dopes left in droves and flooded to internet forums to talk about how the Yanks are “unwatchable.” 

The Rangers established such an insane lead that not even their awful bullpen could blow it. Jung finished with 5 RBI. Jonah Heim had 3 RBI and hits. The Yanks flew back to the biggest cesspool in America embarrassed. Win 15-2.

The Rangers played a weird two game set at home against the Diamondbacks after the Yankees series. 

Game 1 – The Diamondbacks are average and have a very talented ace: Zac Gallen. Naturally the Rangers drew Gallen in the opening game. Gallen was merely average, logging 5 IP of 3 ER ball. Jon Gray was about the same, giving up as many homers as he recorded strikeouts: two. The Rangers entered the 6th down 3-4. After Jonah Heim singled, Ezequiel Duran came up and smacked a two run homer to give the Rangers the lead. Brock Burke, Jonathan Hernandez, and Will Smith did not give up a run in relief. The Rangers handled the D-Backs ace. Marcus Semien reached base three times. Win 6-4.

Game 2 – Both starters got blown up in this game. Andrew Heaney was atrocious, hanging sliders all day long to the tune of 4.2 IP and 6 ER. D-Backs starter Brandon Pfaadt was worse. He went 4.2 IP and gave up 7 ER. The Rangers took the lead in the 5th when AL Rookie Player of the Month Josh Jung hit a 2 run bomb to make the game 6-5 Rangers. The game turned into a disgrace on the level of the final few seasons of Game of Thrones in the 7th inning. Josh Sborz gave up a single, a walk, and another single to tie the game. Jose Leclerc, who was once a top end closer and All-Star, had the command of a little leaguer in this outing. He sprayed the ball everywhere and had no clue where any of his pitches were going. He instantly walked the first two batters, blowing the lead in the process. He gave up an RBI sac fly and RBI single before being mercifully pulled. 

Unfortunately, Leclerc was replaced by Ian Kennedy, who is over a decade removed from his peak. Kennedy spat up all over himself in another appearance that made him look completely washed. The Rangers were able to overcome the bad start, but not the atrocious bullpen. Loss 12-7.

The Rangers traveled to Anaheim to play a joke organization that wants to pretend it is in LA like an aspiring actor. 

Game 1 – Dane Dunning made his first start of the season after being the best arm out of the bullpen. deGrom’s substitute was electric, hurling 5 innings of shutout ball. The Rangers cobbled together four runs throughout the game and entered the 8th inning up 4-0. Jonathan Hernandez gave up an RBI single to Mike “Fishman” Trout. Trout is really good at beating up on the hapless Rangers but chokes in big games. 

“See the blood begin to pour, as it pours upon the floor.” – Lyrics from Iron Maiden’s self-titled song “Iron Maiden.”

Will Smith came into close this game with a three run lead without having to face the Angels two biggest carries: Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. Smith gave up a leadoff single to Anthony Rendon. He then allowed three consecutive hits to the dregs of the Angels order. Brandon Drury, Chad Wallach, and Luis Rengifo all collected hits to tie the game at 4. The Rangers failed to score their gimmick runner in the 10th as the game was tied 4-4. Josh Sborz came into the game in the 10th to seal the forgone conclusion. He gave up the winning run on a wild pitch. This was a choke job on the level of Korean Starcraft legend Innovation being reverse swept in the 2013 Season 1 GSL Finals. It was both stunning and repulsive in nature. This loss dropped the Rangers out of sole possession of 1st place. Disaster. Loss 5-4.

Game 2 – With Jacob deGrom out of the picture when his team needs him like Goku from Dragon Ball Z, Nathan Eovaldi took the mound again to remind everyone he was a top end ace in his own right in Boston. The game was 0-0 after 3 innings. Angels starter Reid Detmers (guys like this being in their rotation is why they are never any good) began the 4th with a leadoff walk to Adolis Garcia. Jonah Heim singled him in. Leody Taveras hit a single afterwards to move Heim to 2nd. Travis Jankowski followed with an RBI single. Marcus Semien had an RBI single himself to make the game 3-0. The game looked very similar to the previous one as the Rangers entered the 9th up 3-0. Eovaldi had pitched 8 exceptional innings up until that point. But who would close the game? Jose Leclerc is closer to AAA than he is the closer. Will Smith just got embarrassed. The Rangers offense answered the question, refusing to even risk a save situation. 

The Rangers batted around in the 9th, singling and stealing their way to an insurmountable advantage. They dropped 7 runs in the 9th, allowing Yerry Rodriguez to protect a 10-0 lead. Win 10-1.

The Rangers will take on the Angels in a crucial rubber match to try to retain their division lead. After that they will travel to Seattle and Oakland.

Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
5/7 – @Los Angeles Angeles – 3:07 p.m. 
5/8 – @Seattle Mariners – 8:40 p.m.
5/9 – @Seattle Mariners – 8:40 p.m.
5/10 – @Seattle Mariners – 2:40 p.m.
5/11 – @Oakland A’s – 8:40 p.m.
5/12 – @Oakland A’s – 8:40 p.m.
5/13 – @Oakland A’s – 3:07 p.m.
5/14 – @Oakland A’s – 3:07 p.m.