The Texas Rangers entered last week with a 5-5 record. They had lost their first road series of the season, against the Los Angeles Angels, after starting off at 5-2. But that wasn’t the only loss.
A Week Full of Lows
Starting pitcher Edinson Volquez went on the injured list with a possible career-ending elbow injury the previous week. This past week it was followed by first baseman Ronald Guzman, who went on the 10-day IL with a strained hamstring. Later in the week, they also lost second baseman Rougned Odor to the 10-day IL with a sore knee.
Ronald Guzman Injury
The loss of Guzman hurts the team a lot both because of his invaluable defense at first as well as his bat. Joey Gallo could conceivably play first, but Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he prefers to keep him in the outfield. For now, fans can expect to see more of Patrick Wisdom in his spot until Guzman returns.
Rougned Odor Injury
Odor is a different case. Odor’s defense at second is missed, but his bat, not so much. He had a great second half in 2018, and it looked like he finally turned things around, but he stumbled out of the gates at the plate this season. He is hitting just .169 so far with an OBP just barely above .200. Has he regressed again, or is this what to expect from him? Did Texas jump the gun in giving him a multi-year extension? Time will tell. It wouldn’t be a good thing if the only defining moment of his career was the Jose Bautista imbroglio. For now, though, veteran Logan Forsythe, who was signed in the offseason, has filled in admirably, especially at the plate.
Salvaging a Split in Arizona
After having Monday off, the Rangers played what has now become their annual two-game series in Arizona versus the Diamondbacks. Arizona will play two games in Texas later this season. Closer Jose Leclerc, who was stellar last season and looked good at the beginning of this year, suddenly lost command of his fastball on Tuesday. That left opposing hitters waiting on his changeup, and it proved disastrous, as he gave up the game-winning home run on Tuesday. He almost blew back-to-back saves on Wednesday before Woodward pulled him for Chris Martin, who saved the day and the game.
A Tough Loss at Home
The Rangers came back home on Friday to host the Oakland Athletics, and things seemed to be going Texas’ way. They jumped out to a 6-1 start against A’s starter Mike Fiers only to see Rangers starter Drew Smyly let them back into the game by giving up three more runs. Oakland’s bullpen held on for four shutout innings while the Rangers’ relievers allowed three more runs in an 8-6 loss.
Saturday night’s game between the Rangers and A’s was postponed due to rain and will be made up on June 8th as the first part of a doubleheader. The second game that night will see the retiring of Adrian Beltre‘s number.
A Miraculous Comeback
After a series of many lows, it came time for the week to end. It delivered on the highest of notes. Shortstop Elvis Andrus, who has had a hot bat since the season began, went 3 for 4 at the plate and finished a double short of hitting for the cycle. He also stole home in the first inning, giving Texas a 2-1 lead. However, Adrian Sampson, who was pitching in Edinson Volquez‘s spot, allowed seven runs through four innings, and things didn’t look good.
The ball was then handed over to the bullpen, who shutout Oakland over the next five innings. Meanwhile, Texas made a miraculous comeback in the 8th inning, scoring four runs, one on an amazing squeeze play by Delino DeShields, that gave the Rangers an 8-7 lead. Closer Jose Leclerc found his fastball command again and got the save, allowing one hit while striking out three. The last strikeout was huge and probably the biggest one for him this young season.
The Texas Rangers are now back at .500 with a 7-7 record but still have to answer for their injuries. Can they keep finding the magic that they had on Sunday? Is it magic at all? Or are they really the team that almost everybody had picked to finish last in the AL West?
Embed from Getty Images