The Texas Rangers entered an 11-game home-stand Thursday after splitting a recent road trip with a chance to define their 2019 season. Seven of those games will have Texas face off against lowly Kansas City and Baltimore- the two teams with the worst records in the American League.
Capitalize on the stretch? Texas could find itself in contention. Drop the ball? It could mean the end of meaningful baseball in Globe Life Park’s final season.
That mission for meaning is off to a less than ideal start after 4-2 home loss to Kansas City on Thursday night.
The game started with promise after Texas’ ace-of-staff worked a masterful first five innings. He allowed just three hits, and struck out eight Royals in five frames of shutout ball.
Things changed later in the game after Kansas City batters consistently worked lengthy at-bats. As a result, Mike Minor was clearly out of gas in the top of the sixth, but came back to the mound after throwing 97 pitches- and the Royals cashed in.
“(Minor) has been fine throughout this season when his pitch count gets high,” manager Chris Woodward said postgame. “He’s actually been better a lot of lot of times.”
In that inning alone, eight Kansas City batters saw 45 pitches- 16 from Minor and 29 from reliever Jeffrey Springs. Three straight Kansas City hits culminated with a Jorge Soler three-run home run flipped the game on its head.
“Tonight was just tough because I feel like I made a lot of good pitches, and they swung and miss a lot,” Minor said postgame.
Offensively for the Rangers, in what was an otherwise sluggish effort, left-handed batters at the top of the lineup had an impact. Shin-Soo Choo and Nomar Mazara both hit home runs. In the end, it came up short, and Minor lost a home start for the first time in his last five starts in Arlington.
The series continues Friday with Texas’ Ariel Jurado slated to start against Danny Duffy. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 CT and can be seen on Fox Sports Southwest.
Notes from Thursday’s game:
- With a win, Texas would’ve moved into a virtual tie with Boston and Oakland for second in the AL Wild Card standings. Instead, the Rangers now sit at a full game back.
- Thursday’s loss was just Texas’ eighth of 26 home contests in 2019.
- Former Ranger reliever Jake Diekman made has return to Globe Life Park in a relief appearance for the Royals. He played for the Rangers from 2015-18 until he was traded to Arizona last July.
- Kansas City’s Hunter Dozier left the game in the fifth inning with right-sided thorax tightness. He is listed as day-to-day.
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