Well, yesterday was quite the "that's the way baseball go" experience. After dropping three of four at home to the Houston Astros, the Texas Rangers' lead in the AL West is down to three games. The Rangers are scuffling quite a bit lately, as they are 3-7 in their last ten games. And 24 games into their 30 games, in 31 days Texas finds themselves 10-14.
The Rangers will have no time to feel sorry for themselves (not that they would - they are a team full of professionals with a future Hall of Fame manager) as they have an extra quick turnaround for today's game. One of my dear mentors was 1975 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, World Champion calf roper, Jeff Copenhaver. He was a huge advocate of getting back on your horse, so to speak, and getting yourself into competition as soon as you could after a tough loss or when things might not have gone the way that you wanted them to.
Texas Rangers schedule versus Boston Red Sox
Date and Time
Probable Pitcher Rangers
Probable Pitcher Red Sox
Tues 4th - 12:35 CT
Dane Dunning RHP 7-1, 2.69 ERA, 51 SO
Wed 5th - 6:10 CT
Jon Gray RHP 6-4, 3,21 ERA, 73 SO
Brayan Bello RHP 5-5, 3.08 ERA, 67 SO
Thurs 6th - 6:10 CT
Nathan Eovaldi RHP 10-3, 2.64 ERA, 106 SO
Kutter Crawford RHP 3-4, 3.92 ERA, 55 SO
That is just what the Rangers will be doing today. They had to fly to Boston after yesterday's game and will now take on the Red Sox at Fenway Park starting at 12:35 CT. Texas will turn to Dane Dunning to get themselves back to their winning ways. Dunning might be the best suited for the task of battling the Red Sox with a lack of sleep as he and his wife became parents for the first time earlier this season.
American League Rookie of the Year frontrunners, Josh Jung and Masataka Yoshida faceoff
This Boston series will mark the second in a row where one of Josh Jung's biggest competitors for the American League Rookie of the Year will be on the opposing team. In the Houston series Hunter Brown pitched, but took the loss at the hand of the Rangers. This series will feature Masataka Yoshida, the about to turn 30 rookie, out of Japan. Yoshida signed with the Red Sox in the offseason to a five-year, $90 million contract.
Jung's numbers this year have been better than probably everybody but himself, thought that they would be. In 81 games that include 344 plate appearances, Jung is hitting .270/.323/.487, has 16 doubles, one triple, 17 home runs, 56 runs, 50 runs batted in, a 120 OPS+, and has a 2.4 bWAR. Yoshida has played in 73 games and has 313 plate appearances where he has slashed .305/.377/.477, has 17 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 41 runs, 41 runs batted in, a 128 OPS+, and has a 1.2 bWAR. Yoshida is a contact hitter that rarely strikes out, but his power and poor defense is way behind front runner Jung.
The Red Sox find themselves at the bottom of the AL East standings but do have a record of 43-42. They are 13 games out of first place, but only four games out of the third wild card spot. Boston is fresh off a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend and had an off day on Monday. They are fresh and will be ready to go, but this Rangers' team has given us no reason to believe that they won't be up to the task at hand.
Happy July 4th everyone! Here is to our nation's birthday, and hopefully to a Texas Rangers' victory!