Texas Rangers: Lose Seager to Hamstring Injury, Struggle Offensively

SS Corey Seager will be out until at least four weeks and will open the door for Josh Smith to get some starts.
Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Wiley Singleton

The Rangers planned to build around Corey Seager when they signed him to a ten year megadeal two years ago. He has been a stalwart of the lineup since the deal was inked. Seager plays every day and always hits in the two or three hole. These two spots are reserved for a team’s most dynamic and talented hitters. Any plan the Rangers have for making the playoffs assumes Corey Seager and Marcus Semien are healthy. Semien and Seager occupying the 1 and 2 spots of the lineup are the backbone of any playoff build order the Rangers have. This is particularly catastrophic because even though many people suspected the pitching staff to break down the Rangers combatted that by loading up on arms and having solid backups like Dane Dunning ready to fill in when an inevitable injury occurred. The Seager injury would be like A-Rod going down in 2004. It would be like Ian Kinsler going down in 2011. It would be like if Mick Mars of Motley Crue was unable to play moments before a concert. In Motley Crue it was the bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee that were the unreliable wild cards. Having Sixx or Lee be unable to play was something that happened enough for the band to prepare for. It was predictable enough to prepare for. That would be like a Rangers pitcher going down in this analogy. Sure, it would still be bad, but you sort of expect it to some extent. Seager going down is such a big deal because he is supposed to be the consistent one. Seager will be out at least four weeks. Hamstring injuries are the sort of injury that can linger throughout a season. 

Young utility man Josh Smith will be asked to pick up the slack. The speedy slap hitting lefty does not have the power of Seager. He is faster than Seager though, and beating Seager’s sloppy defense will not be hard. If Smith can get on base at an average clip, he can use his speed to make up for his lack of power. Rangers Skipper Bruce Bochy is employing a baptism by fire approach with Smith. He is slotting the rookie in at the 2 hole in the lineup, right where Seager used to hit. This provides the obvious benefit of letting every other play stay in the same slot where they are comfortable. That means star second baseman Marcus Semien leading off, .300 hitter Nate Lowe in the 3 hole, and powerful Adolis Garcia hitting cleanup. Having Josh Smith hit 2nd gives him the opportunity to see good pitches, hit frequently, and be relied on heavily in the offense. It also puts a kid who struggles at the plate very high in the order. It is asking a lot out of a utility player. 

Series against the Cubs

Game 1 – The Rangers offense failed to show up in a tepid outing at Wrigley Field. The outspoken Cubs ace Marcus Stroman took to the mound in his signature durag and mowed down the Rangers hitters with ease. He went 6 innings and allowed 2 hits. Loss 2-0.

Game 2 – Adolis Garcia and Robbie Grossman both went hitless in this tepid affair. The Rangers offense was again relatively lifeless. These spells of lifelessness are even more worrying when considering Seager did not get hurt until the next series. Taylor Hearn, the hard throwing lefty with poor command got blown up in this game. Hearn’s appearances in Rangers games are reminiscent of Dom in Entourage. The viewers are immediately repulsed and irritated at the prospect of having to sit through his wretched performances. If Taylor Hearn enters a game for the Rangers it is a good sign you should leave because the game is over. The Rangers committed five errors in this bleak affair. The Rangers engaged in a comedic display this game reminiscent of Caddyshack II. It was brutally unfunny and featured multiple slapstick routines that left the viewer feeling bored and repulsed.  Loss 10-3.

Game 3- The Rangers bats woke up for the final game of the best of three against the Cubs. Defensive specialist Travis Jankowski started the scoring with a double in the second. Bubba Thompson, a similar player, had two hits and RBI. Marcus Semien had 3 RBI. Jon Gray was good as usual. 5.2 IP, 2 ER. Lefties Will Smith and Cole Ragans have been great for the Rangers out of the bullpen this season. They both logged scoreless appearances ahead of Jose Leclerc shutting the door in the 9th. Win 8-2.

Series against the Royals

Game 1 – The Rangers played the lowly Royals at home after being disappointing in Wrigley. Andrew Heaney got the ball for the Rangers after his abysmal debut last week. The debut was dismissed as an aberration in my previous article. The Royals jumped out to a 1-0 lead behind a sloppy Adolis Garcia error. Then Andrew Heaney flipped a switch. Heaney butchered the Royals with the unbridled ferocity and precision of Mike Tyson in his prime. Heaney had his nasty slider working, which is stylistically similar to Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson’s in the sense that it bites hard and late and is effective against righties and not just lefties. Heaney’s fastball had an insane amount of spin and seemed to break in the opposite direction of his slider. He struck out nine Royals in a row, breaking the Texas Rangers record of 7 in a row, set by Nolan Ryan. He tied the AL record with nine consecutive strikeouts. The Rangers won easily behind the great pitching performance. Win 11-2.

Game 2 – Former Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Lyles gave up 4 runs over 6.1 IP. For Lyles this is a great line. Lyles was opposed by the living legend: Jacob deGrom. The deGrominator struck out 9 over 7 brilliant innings. Corey Seager pulled his hammy motoring into second for a double in the mid innings. The Rangers led 4-2 going into the 8th. Jonathan Hernandez spit up all over himself in the 8th and blew the lead after failing to record an out. Lefty Will Smith was also involved in this fiasco, but in a janitorial role. Jose Leclerc came in after to keep the game tied 4-4. The game went to extras for the first time all season. The dim stooge Commissioner Rob Manfred pushed through the abhorrent gimmick runner extra inning rule in 2020 under the guise of it being temporary. Just like with Congress, changes that are obviously harmful and dubious are pushed through under the facade of being “temporary.” Once these changes have been rolled out they are never repealed. This is what happened to baseball with the extra inning gimmick runner. It was introduced as “temporary” and of course is now permanent. The Royals scored the gimmick runner without recording a hit, showing exactly why the rule is such a disgrace. 

The Rangers almost lost in the bottom half of the tenth. They got down to 2 outs after Marcus Semien started on 2nd base and failed to score on a looping fly to left field after being advanced to 3rd. Adolis Garcia came up big with a base hit to tie the game. After Josh Jung walked Jonah Heim came up and crushed a 3 run homer to win the game. It was the sort of game that would have been brutal to lose. Win 8-5.

Game 3 – The Rangers went into this game owning sole possession of first place. Nathan Eovaldi took a 1-0 lead into the second inning. The lead was accrued through a solo shot from Nate Lowe. After letting a couple men reach base Eovaldi was tormented by a Josh Jung error at third. The error extended the inning and allowed the Royals to gain the lead and Eovaldi never looked sharp after the error. Eovaldi’s sloppiness was eclipsed only by the Rangers offense. The Rangers posted a tepid 3 hits after Seager was lost the previous game. This match was a testament to the importance of Seager. The Rangers failed to show up in the most depressing and brutal game of the 2023 season. This game was a true forehead thumping for the viewer. The defense was sloppy. The pitching was worse. The offense did not show up. The Rangers showed up DOA against a rebuilding team. Loss 10-1. 

The Rangers will travel to Houston to play the Astros next. Houston, sometimes called “The New York City of the South,” has been a brutal place for the Rangers in the last 3 years. They boast an abysmal record at Minute Maid Park. After the Rangers pivotal trip to division rival Houston they will play 3 sewer teams blatantly not trying: the Royals, the A’s, and the Reds. The Royals are just plain awful. The A’s are losing on purpose so they can move to Las Vegas and the league pretends not to notice. The Reds 3rd highest paid player is Ken Griffey Jr. That’s right, deferred payments from Griffey’s 2000 contract are some of the biggest checks the spineless Red’s ownership will write this season. The Reds and A’s are not trying and should be ashamed. The owners should sell their respective teams. The Rangers should sweep all three series. 

Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
4/17 – 6:40 p.m. – at Royals 
4/18 – 6:40 p.m. – at Royals
4/19 – 1:10 p.m. – at Royals
4/21 – 7:05 p.m. – vs A’s
4/22 – 6:05 p.m. – vs A’s
4/23 – 1:35 p.m. – vs A’s
4/24 – 5:40 p.m. – at Reds
4/25 – 5:40 p.m. – at Reds
4/26 – 11:35 a.m. – at Reds