Each of the past 10 days for the Rangers has been somewhat wild. They played every single day, from a home weekend series with the Astros to a seven-game road trip that ended in Seattle.
Each and every day, something different and interesting happened in the game that almost makes you scratch your head. From taking a series against the division-leading Astros to getting swept by Oakland, to losing the opening two games in Seattle to make it five in a row, to winning the last two games in Seattle by a combined score of 29-2. What the heck happened?
Well, a lot.
Nothing really that crazy. Verlander threw seven innings and only allowed one earned run, while striking out eight. The Astros bats scored all seven of their runs early, giving the Astros an easy 7-2 win.
Another fairly normal day. The Rangers attacked Gerrit Cole early, putting up a five-spot in the first. The Rangers’ entire lineup say pitches in the first inning. Choo, Santana, Elvis, Nomar, Cabrera, Forsythe, and DeShields all reached base. After the sixth, the Rangers led 9-2. Chavez allowed two runs in the top of the seventh, but there was not much threat after that. The Rangers win 9-4.
Here is when the head scratching begins.
The Rangers again get off to a fast start. Scoring 10 in the first four innings, the Rangers had a real comfortable lead.
What is interesting is how they scored their runs.
Joey Gallo had a hell of a day. Officially 2 for 3 with 5 RBIs, Joey made history. He finally hit the first sacrifice fly of his career. It only took 1,137 plate appearances. To add onto that, he had a triple, a groundout, and a single that went MILES into the sky.
It was a good thing Joey did hit that single. It came in the bottom of the sixth after the Astros scored five in the top half of the frame. At the time, it was 11-6. The Astros scored two in the eighth and again in the ninth. Robinson Chirinos struck out swinging with the bases loaded, ending the game with a 11-10 Rangers win.
After a near Astros comeback win on Sunday, the team flew out to Oakland, where they have struggled for the past few years, for a three-game series.
Mike Minor had an alright six innings with four runs, but the bats were nowhere near good enough to come close to a win. Six hits and only one run is not going to win you many ball games. 1-7 with RISP and leaving 10 men on base, nobody came in clutch to try to grab a run or two.
Elvis got drilled in the hand with a pitch and there was an immediate concern. He stayed in the game until the seventh inning. With two men on base, Patrick Wisdom hit a pinch-hit double, producing the only run of the night.
With concern about Elvis and his health, the Rangers lost 6-1.
Even though he hand was swollen, Elvis played. He was an ineffective 1-5 and scored a run.
This game started the narrative of the Rangers’ success depending on starting pitching.
Lance Lynn did not have the best of days. 3.1 IPs and allowed 8 earned runs. The Rangers were never able to recover from the six-run fourth inning.
Contributing to that fourth inning was Wei-Chieh Huang. The first of two Ranger pitchers to make their major league debut this week, he was thrown into a sticky situation and handled it well. With runners on first and second, Huang got Stephen Piscotty and Kendrys Morales to fly out to CF and LF respectively, ending the fourth inning threat.
Although he did allow two runs in the fifth, he stopped the bleeding in the fourth inning and had an alright Major League debut for the situation he was put in.
The Rangers lost 11-5 and just the beginning of a rough couple of days for the squad.
Arguably the closest game of the 10 games, this one went down to the wire.
Kyle Dowdy, who was making his first career start, struggled, only being able to throw four innings allowing three runs. After Jesse Chavez threw and allowed another two, the Rangers found themselves down 5-3.
A Nomar solo shot in the sixth and wild pitch by A’s pitcher Joakim Soria in the seventh, the ball game stayed all tied until the bottom of the ninth.
Insert Chris Martin. Stephen Piscotty hit a single up the middle after Matt Chapman grounded out to short. Piscotty moves over to second base via a stolen base and two pitches later, Chad Pinder hits a game-winning RBI single.
Nothing extremely wild, just a one-run loss for the Rangers.
Taylor Hearne made his major league debut in the series opener in Seattle. Let’s be nice and say it did not go to plan. .1 IP, five runs, four walks, and an ERA of 108, he only faced eight batters. Evaluated after the game, inflammation in his left elbow was found, putting him on the 10- day IL.
The bullpen was nearly just as bad. The Mariners added on nine more runs, while the Rangers used four bullpen guys. Jeff Mathis, a catcher, was actually the best pitcher of the day. He only allowed one hit over an inning in the eighth.
To add insult to injury, Asdrubal Cabrera pulled up running out a ball in the second inning and was removed from the game.
This was the roughest day of the seven-day road trip. Injuries, bad pitching, and a spent bullpen left the Rangers scrambling for answers the next day.
A busy, busy day for Roster moves. Here is all that happened.
Rangers have activated 2B Rougned Odor from the 10-day IL, RHP Ariel Jurado has been recalled from Nashville,and RHP Wei-Chieh Huang from Frisco. LHP Jeffrey Springs and INF Patrick Wisdom have been optioned to Nashville. LHP Taylor Hearn on 10-day IL with left elbow tightness.
— John Blake (@RangerBlake) April 26, 2019
After a wild day of moves and transactions, there was still baseball to be played.
A Nomar Mazara home run in the fourth and five runs over four innings from Shelby Miller have the Rangers down 4-2 going into the eighth inning. Elvis started the inning with a walk. After a potential ground ball double play, the A’s commit an error on the relay throw to first, setting up a RBI double for Mazara. Still down 5-4 in the ninth, with one out Shin Soo Choo pinch hits for Jeff Mathis. Choo smacks one to right field, tying the game up with a solo shot.
Fast forward to the 11th and the Mariners are walking it off after a failed double play attempt. A 6-5 loss handed the Rangers their fifth loss in five days and with two more game on the road, it was not looking bright.
At this point, the Rangers have lost five in a row, they cannot seem to win a game on the road, and the downfall of the season seems to have begun.
Boy, did they have us fooled.
Every Ranger had six plate appearances, except Choo, who had seven. Elvis, Rougie, and Gallo all hit home runs, while the other four of six in the lineup had doubles. Most of the runs came in the first three innings again, and the Rangers put 15 past Seattle.
What was really important and something that MUCH needed for the pitching staff was Mike Minor. He showed what he could possibly be as an ace, throwing seven innings while only allowing one run. 13 strikeouts added on, and this was one of the best pitching performances of the year. Ariel Jurado, who had just been called up, tossed the final two innings, giving the bullpen a much-needed rest.
A 15-1 win was almost what the Rangers needed to end the road trip and give them some momentum. They were not done there though.
Nearly the same thing happened on Sunday as it did on Saturday.
Eight of the fourteen runs scored for the Rangers were via the home run ball. 17 hits and four Mariner errors on the board in all but three innings. Hunter Pence lead the way, going 3-5 with four RBIs and 3 runs. Elvis went 2 for 5 to increase his batting average to an insane .365. He has shown continually to be the Rangers’ best hitter.
Lance Lynn followed up Mike Minor by throwing a near identical game. Seven innings, one run, and nine strikeouts. Brett Martin and Jose Leclerc closed the game out with scoreless innings each.
Not matching the run tally of 15 from Saturday was upsetting, but I guess 14 will do. A combined score of 29-1 to close the road trip, the Rangers bring some momentum back home.
A wild and interesting 10 days for the Rangers gave us all kinds of emotions. Beating the hated Astros, losing five games in a row with some alright to bad Major League debuts, and scoring 29 runs in two days. Joey Gallo made history and Elvis continued his hot start to the season, while also surviving an injury scare.
Before a mid-week series with the Pirates, the Rangers have a day of on Monday to rest and recover from 10 games in 10 days. Another off day on Thursday without traveling will lead into the rival(?) Blue Jays being in town for the weekend.
Playing at home is where the Rangers have been winning games. Going 4-1 or even 3-2 in this mini five-game homestand would be huge before going back on the road. Let’s hope we see what we did in the final two games against Seattle. Not the fiasco of the five-game losing streak.