“That escalated quickly. That really got out of hand fast!”
In what will likely end up being remembered as “the week that sank the 2019 Texas Rangers,” things went from bad to worse very quickly. After being swept in two series this week against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Houston Astros, the Rangers now find themselves at just 50-49 and, as of publication Sunday night, 6.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot in the American League. In a week of struggles, two major storylines dominated the headlines:
Willie Calhoun sent to AAA
It was a stunning move, even if it made sense based on how many outfielders Texas still has on their roster. Obviously, Willie wasn’t too fond of the move that sent him back to the minors despite him being a very solid major leaguer so far this season.
been through situations my whole life, numb to it at this point ✌🏾
— June Calhoun (@11WillieCalhoun) July 16, 2019
While the knee-jerk reaction would be to try to find a way to help Calhoun find an everyday role elsewhere, the 24-year-old is still under team control for several more seasons. The log-jam preventing him from getting everyday at-bats at the major league level will clear up. Sometime this winter, the Rangers will be able to move Shin-Soo Choo entering the final year of his mega contract. Hunter Pence will likely be elsewhere. Nomar Mazara could possibly be elsewhere. There will be a spot for Calhoun to have for years if he is just patient.
The Losing Streak
It all started with a disappointing extra-innings loss to the Houston Astros last Saturday night. A chance to go up 3-0 in a series against your division rival suddenly gone and then you get walloped in the series finale to settle for a split at home. Then the bats went silent once the rattling of the Diamondbacks came into the picture earlier this week.
You never want to go into Houston reeling these days. The Rangers did just that and were never really in contention to win any of their three games at Minute Maid Park this weekend. Sub-standard starts from rotation heads Mike Minor and Lance Lynn didn’t help matters, but neither necessarily pitched the team out of the game. Texas is now 0-7 in Houston this season and luckily will not have to face the Astros until mid-September when they visit H-Town for a quick two-game series.
A series against the awful Seattle Mariners may help matters, but it’s still a road series where the Rangers are just 19-28 so far this season. Here are the probable starters over the next week:
Monday, July 22nd: Adrian Sampson (6-6, 4.92 ERA) vs. Marco Gonzales (10-8, 4.48 ERA)
Tuesday, July 23rd: Jesse Chavez (3-5, 4.72 ERA) vs. TBD
Wednesday, July 24th: Mike Minor (8-5, 2.93 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (8-8, 4.27 ERA)
Mike Minor has a 6.06 ERA in July after having a phenomenal 1.70 ERA in five June starts.
Thursday, July 25: Ariel Jurado (5-6, 4.92 ERA) vs. Brett Anderson (9-5, 3.82 ERA)
Friday, July 26th: Lance Lynn vs. Daniel Mengden (5-1, 4.21 ERA)
Saturday, July 27th: Adrian Sampson vs. Homer Bailey (8-6, 4.69 ERA)
Bailey went six innings and gave up just two earned runs in his first start with Oakland after being acquired from the Royals in a trade earlier this month.
Sunday, July 28th: Jesse Chavez vs. Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.64 ERA)
Another disastrous start for Chavez earlier in the week could prevent him from getting this turn. In nine starts over the last couple of months, Chavez has an ERA of 6.00 after not giving up a run over 17 innings in May as a member of the bullpen.
While it’s entirely possible that the Rangers could begin to sell in the middle of this week, perhaps they can find their footing again and get things back in the right direction. While an improved level of play could boost the spirit of the clubhouse, it will be very difficult to climb back and ahead of the five superior teams that are in front of them in the Wild Card standings.
The Rangers have officially been punched in the mouth big time. How will they respond?
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