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Rangers begin their 16-game stand against teams under .500; how’d they do, and who’s next?

Photo: Klay Kuban/Dallas Sports Fanatic

Rangers begin their 16-game stand against teams under .500; how’d they do, and who’s next?

The Texas Rangers caught fire this week as they finished 4-2 in three-game series against the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels. After sweeping the Mariners at the beginning of the week, the club lost a rather disappointing series to the Angels on Sunday.

The Rangers have now played 50 games and sit evenly at 25-25. That puts them at third in the division behind the Astros and the Athletics.

Their five-game win streak matched a season high but was snapped by the Angels in the second game of the series. The Rangers then lost their first rubber game of the season on Sunday.

Before this week began, the Rangers started a 16-game stretch of below .500 teams. Let’s take a dive into the exciting week that was and break down each game.

The Week that was:

May 20: Rangers 10, Mariners 9.

The Rundown: What a night this was for the Texas Rangers. Each batter contributed at least one hit and combined for five home runs, but it was once again the Mike Minor show. Minor began his start by throwing five scoreless innings that gave him a club-record streak of 29 consecutive scoreless innings at Globe Life Park – before he gave up two runs in the sixth. The previous club mark was 25 2/3 innings by some other former Rangers pitcher, C.J. Wilson. Asdrubal Cabrera (9) hit two homers and Hunter Pence (9), Joey Gallo (14) and Rougned Odor (7) each hit one. Cabrera and Odor went back to back in the first inning and Pence and Gallo did so in the seventh. That marks the sixth time in club history that the Rangers hit back-to-back home runs twice in one game – the last time it happened was back in 2009.

May 21: Rangers 5, Mariners 3.

The Rundown: Lance Lynn had himself an outing going seven innings. He allowed only five hits, and two earned runs while striking out eleven – his season-high and one SO short of his career-high. He now carries the best record out of the entire pitching staff at 6-3 this year. Mazara continues to be the streaky hitter he is with a 3-4 performance at the plate with two runs scored and one RBI. Joey Gallo mashed his 15th home run of the year in the bottom of the eighth to help seal the win and the bullpen (finally) came in and had themselves a solid performance. Now, granted it was the two go-to guys in Jose Leclerc in the eighth and Shawn Kelley recording his third save, so it should be expected out these guys.

May 22: Rangers 2, Mariners 1.

The Rundown: The Rangers went with the opener/headliner pitching method for this game – and it worked. Jesse Chavez opened the game throwing 1 ⅔ innings and allowing 1 hit before the headliner, Adrian Sampson came onto the mound. Sampson had himself a nice outing over 5 ⅓ innings allowing four hits, one earned run and striking out five. He was awarded the win thanks to continued hot-hitting from Mazara and Pence. Pence hit a solo home run in the sixth to give him 10 for the year. He now has eclipsed eleven double-digit home run seasons in his 13-year career. Congrats and welcome back home again, Hunter, but more importantly congrats on the Rangers for completing their third sweep of the year.

May 24: Rangers 4, Angels 3.

The Rundown: After the day of rest spent in Los Angeles, the Rangers start a familiar three-game series against their rivals, the Angels. This day goes down as Drew Smyly’s comeback.  “He won the game for us tonight.” Manager Chris Woodward said after the game. Smyly recorded his first win since September 13, 2016, because of lingering injuries including Tommy John surgery. It was also the first quality start of the season by a Rangers pitcher not named Minor or Lynn. Shin-Soo Choo kicked off the game with a lead-off homer to give him his eighth of the year, while Pence continued his dominance at the plate with a go-ahead two-RBI single. Pence is now tied with Gallo for the team-lead with 35 RBIs on the year.

May 25: Angels 3, Rangers 2.

The Rundown: If you went to bed at a normal time on Saturday night, props to you. The few others, along with myself, stayed up way too late to watch the Rangers lose in a ninth-inning embarrassment. The game started off with another phenomenal start by Minor – he went six innings and only gave up a home run and five hits while striking out five. There was little to no action all the way up into the ninth when Guzman tied it up with an RBI Double and then Rougie slapped-in the go-ahead run with a single. Bottom of the ninth is here and in comes Shawn Kelley. Kelley gives up three hits and two earned runs to blow the lead and concede the walk-off blooper right behind third base. Sure, it could have been caught, but it was awkward and Kelley had a job to do. We get that people are relievers too, Shawn Kelley, but people also have jobs and are paid to do those jobs. You, my friend, failed to do so and it was embarrassing.

May 26: Angels 7, Rangers 6.

The Rundown: This is the same story just another day it seems like. What was a solid start to the game, ended very poorly. Ariel Jurado was on the mound for 6 ⅓ innings and allowed 2 earned runs six hits and struck out three. Going into the bottom of the seventh, the Rangers had a 5-1 lead. Jurado allows a single and Woody decides to pull him for Jefferey Springs, who then proceeds to allow four hits, four earned runs and zero outs. Zero. Now, granted, there was a playable ball to center field that Santana should’ve made (Gallo or Delino definitely would have) as well as a sacrifice fly that was caught and should’ve been thrown out at home, but also didn’t happen. Now why Santana is just thrown out in center is beyond me and any answer I could ever think of. You can see where I’m going with this. The bullpen blows it again and wind-up giving up another comeback to the rival Angels. They win the series 2-1.

Okay, moving on.

This Week’s Notable Transactions/Injuries:

5/21/19 Texas Rangers activated RHP Shawn Kelley from the 10-day injured list.
5/21/19 Texas Rangers sent SS Elvis Andrus on a rehab assignment to Frisco RoughRiders.
5/21/19 Texas Rangers sent RF Scott Heineman on a rehab assignment to Nashville Sounds.
5/21/19 Texas Rangers optioned LHP Brett Martin to Nashville Sounds.
5/22/19 Texas Rangers placed LF Willie Calhoun on the 10-day injured list. Left quad strain
5/22/19 Texas Rangers recalled CF Delino DeShields from Nashville Sounds.
5/25/19 Texas Rangers activated SS Elvis Andrus from the 10-day injured list.
5/25/19 Texas Rangers optioned CF Delino DeShields to Nashville Sounds.


The Week Ahead:

Monday-Wednesday games at T-Mobile Park and projected starters:

May 27, 8:10 CT.: TEX RHP Lance Lynn (6-3, 4.67 ERA) vs. SEA LHP Tommy Milone (0-1, 3.60 ERA).

May 28, 9:10 CT.: TEX RHP Adrian Sampson (2-3, 4.44 ERA) vs. SEA LHP Marco Gonzales (5-4, 3.41 ERA).

May 29, 2:40 CT.: TEX LHP Drew Smyly (1-3, 6.15 ERA) vs. SEA LHP Wade LeBlanc (2-2, 7.33 ERA).

A Look Ahead: Yet another three-game set against a division rival on the west coast. These are getting old. The Rangers have had hot bats against the Mariners this year whether that be at home or in Seattle. In seven games against them so far this season, the Rangers have gone 5-2 while averaging an absurd 7.4 runs a game. Sounds like we can all thank the Mariners solely for the Rangers league lead in runs per game.

Tuesday’s game looks like another opportunity for the Rangers to use an opener which will more than likely be Jesse Chavez again due to his success thus far. Adrian Sampson will be headlining the game which is why he still is listed as the projected starter. By the look of the numbers, Wednesday’s day game could be a slugfest as both pitchers carry an ERA over six. Either way, my prediction is the Rangers win the series 2-1.

Thursday-Sunday games at Globe Life Park and projected starters:

May 30, 7:05 CT.: TEX LHP Mike Minor (5-3, 2.55 ERA) vs. KC RHP Jakob Junis (3-5, 5.58 ERA).

May 31, 7:05 CT.: TEX RHP Ariel Jurado (1-2, 2.28 ERA) vs. KC LHP Danny Duffy (3-1, 3.12 ERA).

June 1, 3:05 CT.: TEX RHP Lance Lynn (6-3, 4.67 ERA) vs. KC RHP Homer Bailey (4-5, 5.68 ERA).

May 28, 2:05 CT.: TEX RHP Adrian Sampson (2-3, 4.44 ERA) vs. KC RHP Brad Keller (3-5, 4.43 ERA).

A Look Ahead: The Kansas City Royals are in the midst of a rebuild and a very disappointing season thus far. They are at the bottom of the league’s standings and find themselves in the bottom half of the league in just about every statistical category there is. If it weren’t for Texas native, Hunter Dozier’s early-season dominance, they would be much worse offensively. Much like the Rangers, they are dealing with multiple injuries to their pitching staff, so call-ups and openers/headliners will be heavily used throughout this series for them. My prediction is this will be a sweep by the Rangers because of the (Asdrubal Cabrera led) dominance at home this season.

Happy Memorial Day

We lost a good one this past week in longtime Rangers writer/reporter Gerry Fraley. He set the standard on what it means to not only cover baseball but cover sports with excellence. Beyond Mr. Fraley, we remember all of those who have sacrificed their lives to honor and protect this beautiful country. God bless you. God bless your families. God bless America. I’m @darienclark5 writing for Dallas Sports Fanatic.

Staff writer covering the Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks | Jesus Christ-follower, husband to Brooke, dad to Sutton, UNT journalism alumni, adventure craver, coffee connoisseur, music devotee, sports fanatic.

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