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What to watch for in the Rangers series against the D-backs and Giants this week

What to watch for in the Rangers series against the D-backs and Giants this week

Time to dust off the series loss to the Rockies and look ahead. The Rangers continue their home stint in their new ballpark against the Diamondbacks and Giants, respectively. Texas will play two versus Arizona starting on Tuesday. They will have a day off Thursday and then play a three-game series with the Giants starting Friday. Assuming, of course, COVID doesn’t derail things.

Series Preview: Arizona

Both teams come into this two-game series at 1-2. Arizona dropped their season-opening series to the Padres. To make matters worse for the home team, the news came down this afternoon from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that Corey Kluber has a Grade 2 tear in his shoulder. His return for the shortened 2020 season is in serious jeopardy. Arizona will be without P Silvino Bracho and P Corbin Martin who have both landed on the 60 Day IL.

If you don’t remember the last time these two teams squared off it is probably for good reason. Arizona thumped Texas 19-4. Jesse Chavez got pulled before he could make it out of the first inning after giving up 7 earned runs in the first frame. The Rangers never recovered. Texas was 3-1 versus the Diamondbacks during the 2019 campaign. Texas leads Arizona 23-18 all time.

Projected Pitching Matchups:

Tuesday, July 28th (8:05 pm C/ST): Merril Kelly (0-0) (ARI) v. Kyle Gibson (0-0) (TEX)

Wednesday, July 29th (3:05 pm C/ST): Madison Bumgarner (0-1) (ARI) v. Lance Lynn (1-0) (TEX)

Players to Watch

Lance Lynn (TEX): Not only is the 6’5” righty coming off an opening day win against the Rockies, but he is also 4-1 against the Diamondbacks in his last five matchups against them. Lynn sports a 3.9 ERA with 28 strikeouts in those five games against Arizona. In 2019, Lynn struck out 15 Diamondbacks in 12 innings. It will be interesting to see if it looks like we can count on Lynn to step up as the staff ace in the absence of Kluber.

Ketel Marte (ARI): The Diamondbacks’ second baseman is a ballplayer through and through. He’s a utility man for their club. In 2019, Marte took the field as a shortstop, second baseman, and centerfielder while only committing five errors all season. On top of that, the man is a triple machine. In the last two seasons, he has logged 21 triples. Marte has a real shot to earn himself his first triple of 2020 at Globe Life Field with its rigid walls down the lines.

Series Preview: San Francisco Giants 
The Rangers first road trip of the season takes them to the Bay Area for series against the Giants and the Oakland Athletics. San Francisco opened their season with a four game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Chavez Ravine. After dropping the first two games, the Giants rallied to split the series with wins on Saturday and Sunday. San Francisco will host a home series against the San Diego Padres Tuesday through Thursday before the beginning their games with the Rangers on Friday. Texas last visited AT&T Park in late August 2018 when the Giants took two out of three. The Rangers lone victory in the series came courtesy of a 9th inning comeback finished by a Rougned Odor splash shot into McCovey Cove.

Projected Pitching Matchups:

Friday, July 31st (8:10 C/ST): Mike Minor (0-1)  v. TBD

Saturday, August 1st (8:10 C/ST): Jordan Lyles (First start) v. TBD

Sunday, August 2nd (3:10 C/ST): Kolby Allard (First start) v. TBD

Player to Watch: Tyler Heineman, C 
Heineman has started three of the first four games at catcher for the Giants after franchise icon Buster Posey opted out of the season for great reasons earlier this month. The 29-year-old started in the ninth hole in the lineup in his first two starts before manager Gabe Kapler moved him up to the sixth spot for Sunday’s game. Heineman’s four hits so far this season make up more than half of his career hits (7) after he made his Major League debut last season.

Tyler is of course the older brother of Rangers outfielder Scott Heineman. While Scott is yet to play in a regular season game, perhaps the brothers could share the field at some point this weekend.

Stats and references from Baseball Reference

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