Brought to you by: Big Shucks
The Rangers returned from the All-Star break looking solid. The break came at a time when Rougie Odor and Mike Napoli were finding their stroke.
7/14 – Game 1 at Kansas City: The Rangers played three very close games against the Royals in Kansas City. Martin Perez pitched well, lasting seven long innings and giving up three runs. He was opposed by Jason Hammel, who looked unhittable until the sixth inning when Adrian Beltre crushed a game tying homer. Matt Bush pitched a successful scoreless inning after Mike Napoli smashed a pinch hit homer to left to make the game 5-3. Napoli’s power surge seems to be continuing after the break. Alex Claudio has been transformed from flexible lefty to starting closer. Claudio closed this game out and led the Rangers to a 5-3 win.
7/15 – Game 2 at Kansas City: This game was an absolute pitchers duel between two talented lefties. Danny Duffy was incredible for the Royals. He gave up one earned run in 8.1 IP. Cole Hamels was also excellent. Hamels went 7.2 innings and gave up no runs. Jose Leclerc and Alex Claudio were both great behind Hamels. They managed to maintain his shutout. The game was scoreless going into the 9th. Jonathan Lucroy hit a single, and was bunted to second by Delino DeShields. Shin-Soo Choo slapped a hit into left field to drive home pinch runner Joey Gallo to make the game 1-0. Claudio closed the game sharply and the 1-0 Rangers victory was sealed.
7/16 – Game 3 at Kansas City: The Rangers got off to a poor start that might make them miss the playoffs. Throughout the course of the season the Rangers have had a plethora of opportunities to sweep an important series and turn their season around. A recent example of this was the series against the Mariners before the break. The Rangers have repeatedly failed in these crucial games. This game was no different. The Rangers were in position to sweep an ice cold Royals team and make it back to .500. They played poor defense instead and took a 4-3 loss.
Yu Darvish was not as eclectic as he usually is, but he still managed to turn in a quality start behind poor run support. Drew Robinson and Mike Napoli both hit solo homers. Matt Bush relieved Darvish, and continued to look slightly erratic. Bush managed to record his one out without giving up a run. The Royals were up 3-2 in the 8th when Elvis Andrus hit a double and was driven in by Nomar Mazara to tie the game. Veteran Jason Grilli came in for the 9th to hold a 3-3 lead. Grilli was wild. He walked the second batter on four pitchers and hit a batter too. Grilli loaded the bases with one out after the HBP and got a huge strikeout. The final play of the game was a weakly hit fly ball to Saturday’s hero, Shin-Soo Choo. Choo lost the ball in the sun and the Royals walked it off. It is also worth noting Mazara severely misplayed a ball early in the game in left, and that also cost the Rangers a run.
The Rangers continue to falter when it looks as though they will finally return to the form they are capable of playing at. The Rangers could trade Lucroy, who is in a contract year. If they do trade him, it will probably be to a contender, who would most likely not be willing to trade the Rangers badly needed pitching. Pitching is a huge asset and one all teams trying to make it in the playoffs seek.
Pat Neshek and RA Dickey are both pitchers who could help the Rangers, but are not receiving an insane amount of attention like Sonny Gray.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
7/17 @Orioles 6:05 p.m.
7/18 @Orioles 6:05 p.m.
7/19 @Orioles 6:05 p.m.
7/20 @Orioles 6:05 p.m.
7/21 @Rays 6:10 p.m.
7/22 @Rays 6:10 p.m.
7/23 @Rays 12:10 p.m.