Here we go.
It's been a good season for the Texas Rangers, who lost 94 games and fired their manager in 2022. It was obvious they were a much better team than that 68-94 record suggested - they went 15-35 in the one-run games, which is a) well nigh unfathomable, and b) cosmic payback for them going 36-11 in those games back in 2016.
They took steps to improve themselves, signing no less than four free agent starting pitchers. Two of them are no longer in the six man rotation Bruce Bochy is currently cycling through. Jakob de Grom quickly landed on the IL, not to be seen again until sometime in 2024. And southpaw Martin Perez had a rough month in July and was bumped to the bullpen when the Rangers added two starters - Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery - at the deadline. It's a six man rotation because Nathan Eovaldi, also a free agent signing, is being eased back into action after missing six weeks with a forearm strain. Eovaldi had been one of the best starters in the league before he went down. (The Jays will miss the fourth free agent starter, Andrew Heaney.)
The Rangers will be missing a pair of 2022 All Stars when they come to town. Rookie third baseman Josh Jung has been out for a month now with a thumb fracture - he may be back next week. Jung has been joined on the IL by right fielder Adolis Garcia with a patellar tendon strain. That's a knee ligament and the team is optimistic that he'll be back before the season ends. Robbie Grossman will probably get the starts in RF while he's out.
The Jays went down in the heart of Texas for three in the middle of June.
The Story So Far
Friday 16 June: Toronto 2 Texas 1 - A crisp pitcher's duel between Gausman and Perez. Texas took the first lead on a third inning solo HR from Taveras. In the fifth, Chapman led off with a walk and Jansen followed with a homer. It was only the second hit Perez had allowed, and that was all the scoring both teams would manage.
Saturday 17 June: Toronto 2 Texas 4 - Trevor Richards made three starts as a kind of Opener as the Jays struggled with a four man rotation for most of June. This was the start that didn't go so well. Staked to a 1-0 lead, he walked Garcia to open the second and gave up back-to-back homers to Jung and Heim. It was all that was required as Dunning pitched six strong innings and Seager added another homer later.
Sunday 28 June: Toronto 7 Texas 11 - Oh, this was a bad one. The Jays had jumped out to a 6-0 in the third inning thanks, but the Rangers got two back in the third and drove Bassitt from the game with three more in the fifth. Nate Pearson put out that fire, but lit one of his own the following inning, allowing three more runs to put Texas ahead. They added three more against Adam Cimber in the seventh. Ezequiel Duran had four hits and scored three times; Corey Seager had four hits and drove in three.
Corey Seager's having an MVP type of season - he's not going to win it, partially because he's already missed more than 40 games but mostly because Shohei Ohtani exists. He's had a tremendous season anyway. And our old chum Marcus Semien has been pretty good himself and, naturally, hasn't missed a game yet.
The Rangers score plenty of runs - no team in the AL has scored more - but they give up a few and their problems have revolved around the bullpen, which has posted an ugly 4.89 ERA and managed to Blow more Saves than they've converted. They have added a couple of veteran arms to the mix. Aroldis Chapman, acquired at the deadline from the Royals for Cole Ragans, has been adequate (and of course he brings you his own special karma.) Ian Kennedy hasn't been so hot.
Monday 11 Sep - Dunning (9-6, 3.88) vs Bassitt (14-7, 3.69)
Tuesday 12 Sep - Scherzer (12-6, 3.91) vs Ryu (3-2, 2.65)
Wednesday 13 Sep - Montgomery (8-11, 3.62) vs Kikuchi (9-5, 3.57)
Thursday 14 Sep - Eovaldi (11-4, 2.90) vs Gausman (11-8, 3.28)