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Thoughts on a 4-1 Rangers loss

Mariners 4, Rangers 1

MLB: Texas Rangers at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

M’s 4, Rangers 1

  • I come not to praise the 2020 Texas Rangers, but to bury them.
  • I had pretty much written off the 2020 season for Texas a couple of weeks ago. And then they got on a winning streak, got above .500, and I thought, well, hell, stranger things have happened. Its a short season, expanded playoffs, maybe the Rangers can sneak into the playoffs somehow.
  • Since getting to 10-9, when I had those brief delusions of competence, Texas has lost 8 in a row, become laughing stocks over an unwritten rules clusterfuck when Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam off of Juan Nicasio to give the Padres a 10 run lead, gave up three more grand slams to the Padres in the next three games to end up in the records books, and then have been slept by the hapless Mariners.
  • Chris Woodward talked this weekend about the likelihood of the team shifting gears and making changes if things didn’t turn around. Guys like Anderson Tejeda and Leody Taveras will be coming up and getting regular playing time, it was suggested, while Kyle Cody and Wes Benjamin could get some run in the rotation. In the five weeks remaining, if the Rangers aren’t going to be in contention, they might as well see who might be able to contribute in 2021.
  • Mike Minor’s mysterious collapse was somewhat halted today, as he went 6 innings for the first time all year, allowing just 1 walk and 5 hits while striking out 4. So that was good.
  • Unfortunately, 3 of the 5 hits were home runs, meaning he gave up 4 runs in the 6 innings of work. He also dropped to 0-5, which is kind of remarkable when you think that the season just kicked off 30 days ago.
  • Joely Rodriguez and Jonathan Hernandez each threw a scoreless inning in relief, which simply meant that it was a loss and not a blowout. Each of them have ERAs that start with 1, and each of them has pitched well this year, bright spots in what has otherwise been a dismal month.
  • The Rangers got three lousy hits, all game, and a walk. Isiah Kiner-Falefa double, Derek Dietrich singled, Danny Santana drew the walk, and in what seems like a mockingly ironic twist perpetrated by the Baseball Gods, Jeff Mathis, in possibly his final major league game, hit a home run in his at bat of the game.
  • I say that it may be Mathis’s final game because Robinson Chirinos is apparently about ready to come off the injured list. If the Rangers are contending and Mathis is making magic with Mike Minor, you can perhaps justify using a roster spot on him, but Jose Trevino has been playing regularly — and batting fifth, even, occasionally, though that may be more of a commentary on the other choices than on Trevino — and at this stage I’m skeptical the Rangers would keep Mathis on the active roster.
  • The clock is also ticking on Rougned Odor, who is 0 for his last 16 after a 2 hit game, including a home run, on Wednesday. He’s got a 478 OPS right now. I said on Twitter that I expect him to be dealt or released by September 27. If he’s dealt, that’s going to have to happen in eight days, and it would have to be to a team that has a bad contract it wants to dump, or else is willing to take on a million or two over the next couple of years to see if they can straighten Rougie out.
  • I’ve been on board with patience with Odor for a while, but at this point, I think he’s going to have to start over somewhere else. He either needs to start or he needs to go — there’s no room on the bench for a lefty hitter who only plays second base. And I don’t think the Rangers are going to be willing to start him much longer.
  • Two balls in play by the Rangers went over 100 mph today — Dietrch with a 102.5 line out, and Mathis with a 100.7 on his home run. Dietrch also had a 99.0 mph EV on his single.
  • Jonathan Hernandez topped out at 98.2 mph today and had four more pitches (out of 12 total) top 97. Joely Rodriguez topped out at 96.8 mph. Mike Minor once again struggled with his velocity — he only had three pitches of at least 92 mph, his 43rd, 44th and 45th pitches of the game, at 92.2, 92.2, and 92.3, all to Kyle Lewis in the third inning.
  • Texas returns home to face Oakland tomorrow. I expect changes — if not tomorrow, then over the next week.