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A look at the Rangers past week and week ahead

After a rough series in Anaheim, the Rangers continued a brief road trip to Arizona. They got a first hand look at the Chase Field turf, the similar turf that the team will use next season with the new park. After the two-gamer in the desert, the club came back home for a series against the Athletics. Here’s how it went down.

Observations: The Rangers jumped on Arizona’s starter Zack Greinke early. Texas tagged the Diamondbacks’ ace for four runs in six-plus innings Tuesday night; all four runs came in the first two innings. Mike Minor continued his dominance going six innings and only allowing home runs to John Ryan Murphy in the third inning and Nick Ahmed in the seventh. Jose Leclerc allowed three runs in the ninth inning, which snapped a twenty-five inning scoreless streak; Jose also pitched for the first time in the past six days.

Turning Point: Jarrod Dyson came up as a pinch hitter with a runner on first and one out. Leclerc struck out Ahmed on a 98 MPH fastball after Escobar doubled to crawl Arizona within one. After an 0-2 count, Leclerc missed a possible two-seam fastball low and away and then missed low and in with his slider. However, on a 2-2 pitch to Dyson, Leclerc’s slider broke to the middle of the plate and Dyson launched the ball to right for the walk-off home run for Arizona.

Crazy Stat of the Game: Mike Minor’s dominance against the Diamondbacks continued on Tuesday. Minor’s start was his third against Arizona in his career and his fifth total appearance. In those appearances, Minor allowed three home runs (two on Tuesday) but has only allowed four total runs in 23.2 innings.

Observations: Both Robbie Ray and Lance Lynn were dealing on Wednesday. Lynn struck out nine in six innings, giving up a run and four hits. Eight of Lynn’s nine strikeouts were swinging. Meanwhile, Ray in five innings struck out ten, allowed a run and two hits. Hunter Pence hit his first home run as a Ranger, hitting an opposite-field shot to the hot tub in right center.

Turning Point:  In the top of the seventh, Arizona made a change and brought in Archie Bradley to face Delino DeShields with a runner at second, two outs. Delino came into Wednesday’s game 3 for 28 on the season. On a 3-1 pitch, DeShields hit a curve the other way to right field, scoring Kiner-Falefa and giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

Crazy Stat of the Game: Jose LeClerc allowed runs in back to back outings for the first time since May 5th and May 7th of last season against the Red Sox (51 innings pitched since that May 7th outing). Kyle Bird earned the save Wednesday.

Observations: Despite a rough sixth inning, Drew Smyly pitched well on Friday. His command hit the corners, and the Athletics obliged by Smyly’s breaking pitches. Drew pitched five innings on Friday; he only pitched 6.1 combined in his last two starts. Choo and Mazara took full advantage of the left-handed shift. The pair combined for three hits, including a bunt single by Choo in the fifth. Despite Smyly’s line totaling four runs, the bullpen yielded seven of the eight runs. Oakland’s bullpen threw four scoreless innings.

Turning Point: It’s a tie game, 6-6 in the top of the eighth inning and Khris Davis steps to the plate. Khris Davis did what he always does against the Rangers. Davis launched his tenth homer of the season and broke the tie off Chris Martin.

Crazy Stat of the Game: Logan Forsythe continued his production with runners in scoring position. After Friday’s game, Forsythe is five for seven with RISP on the season with three RBIs. Friday, Logan was one for two with an RBI double with runners in scoring position. Maybe it’s the uniform number?

The rain postponed the Rangers and Athletics game on Saturday. The makeup game is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Saturday, June 8th. Yes, that is the same day as the Adrian Beltre ceremony. It’ll be a Rangers filled day.

Observations: Another Sunday, another crazy comeback home win. Unlike Friday’s bullpen struggles, the Rangers bullpen was flawless on Sunday. The pen pitched five innings, did not allow a run and only three Athletics baserunners total. On the other hand, the Rangers scored five runs off the Oakland bullpen (four off former Ranger Joakim Soria).

Turning Point: Danny Santana got called up on Saturday after the Rangers put Rougned Odor on the injured list with a sore knee. Woodward placed Santana in the starting lineup on Saturday’s game, but due to the rainout and the Athletics keeping Anderson’s spot in the rotation, Forsythe got the call at second with Wisdom at first. After Cabrera singled to score a run, there were runners at on the corners and two out. Santana lined a ball to the right-center field gap to score both runners and tie the game at seven.

Chris Woodward talked postgame after Sunday’s win on Danny Santana. “There’s just something about him”, Woody said. “He’s a special guy with speed and power.  Just who he is, everybody liked him in spring training. I’m really excited to see what he can do.  With Rougie and Guzzy down, he’s going to get significant playing time.”

Crazy Stat of the Game: Elvis Andrus’ steal of home was the fifth time he’s done that, a Rangers club record. Andrus stole home after Athletics’ starter Brett Anderson threw to first. After the throw, Elvis immediately took off and just got his hand in past the tag from catcher Josh Phegley.

This Week Ahead

Monday April 15 – Trevor Cahiil (1-1, 3.50) vs Shelby Miller (0-1, 9.53)
***Jackie Robinson Day***

Tuesday April 16 – Matt Harvey (0-1, 10.05) vs Mike Minor (1-1, 3.86)

Wednesday April 17 – Felix Pena (0-1, 3.65) vs Lance Lynn (1-1, 4.82)

This series will be the first time of three in 2019 the Angels will visit Arlington. The Angels took three of four from the Rangers in early April in Anaheim. The man of the series, Mike Trout, is questionable for this series with a groin injury. Trout didn’t play in the entire Cubs series after suffering the injury on Wednesday against the Brewers. Trout hit five homers, drove in five, and reached base twelve times in four games against the Rangers earlier this season. The Angels bullpen is a force too. The Angels’ bullpen ERA is 2.08 which is third in the majors behind the Giants and Indians. Hitters are hitting .192 against the Angels pen.

***Thursday April 18 – Off Day in Arlington***

Friday April 19 – Justin Verlander (2-0, 3.52) vs Drew Smyly (0-1, 7.15)

Saturday April 20 – Gerrit Cole (1-2, 3.24) vs Adrian Sampson (0-1, 5.93)

Sunday April 21 – Collin McHugh vs Shelby Miller

The Astros make their second visit to Arlington this season as they try to avenge a series loss in early April. In that three-game series, the Astros scored a total of six runs. The Rangers get another crack at the top two starters in the Astros rotation. On April 2nd, the Rangers tagged Verlander for four runs, six hits, and three walks in four innings in a 6-4 win.  Before the weekend series, the Astros continue their west coast trip to Oakland. The Astros play a brief two-game series against the Athletics on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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