The major league baseball season is a long and arduous course to navigate. There are highs and lows and the Texas Rangers find themselves in a flat state currently. After dropping three out of four to the Los Angeles Angels at home, the Rangers have now dropped two straight series and have lost six of their last eight games. This is only the second time all season that Texas has dropped consecutive series. The first time came back in the first full week of the season, when they lost to both the Baltimore Orioles at home and the Chicago Cubs on the road.
Texas Rangers schedule and pitching matchups versus the Toronto Blue Jays
Date and Time
Rangers Probable Pitcher
Blue Jays Probable Pitcher
Fri 16th - 7:05 CT
Martin Perez LHP 6-2, 4.67 ERA, 51 SO
Kevin Gausman RHP 5-3, 3.12 ERA, 117 SO
Sat 17th - 3:05 CT
Dane Dunning RHP 5-1, 2.76 ERA, 36 SO
Sun 18th - 1:35 CT
Jon Gray RHP 6-2, 2.32 ERA, 63 SO
Chris Bassitt RHP 7-5, 4.02 ERA, 75 SO
There is no rest for the weary, as the Rangers are set to host the high-flying Toronto Blue Jays for a weekend series beginning tonight. The Blue Jays started the season off hot, amassing an 18-10 record through the end of April. However, the month of May wasn't as friendly to the team from Canada, as they went 11-17. In June, the youngsters from north of the border, have regained their groove and are currently 9-5 for the month.
Despite the funk that the Rangers (42-26) find themselves in, the team is still in first place in the AL West, leading the Houston Astros by 3.5 games and the Angels by 4.5. The Rangers have gone from having the second best record in MLB to having the fourth best record. Texas finds itself only trailing Tampa Bay (50-22) and Baltimore (43-25) in the American League and the Atlanta Braves (43-26) in the National League. Texas is 7-6 so far this month.
With the likes of Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr, anchoring their lineup, the Blue Jays have quite a potent offense. One thing that the Jays do well is steal bases. Jonah Heim and the pitching staff will have to be on their toes, as Toronto is 7th in MLB in stolen bases with 56. The bulk of the swiped bags have come from Whit Merrifield (18), Daulton Varsho (10), and George Springer (10). After leading MLB in steals last season with 128, the Texas Rangers find themselves in 24th with only 39 steals in 2023.
It is also hard to strikeout the Blue Jays. They currently have the 5th fewest strikeouts in MLB with 542. That is impressive with the still relatively young average age of 28.9 for their position players. With the addition of some veterans, and as their core group of young talent has matured, the team is not only a few years older (25.9 was the average age of position players in both '19 and '20), but their approach at the plate has grown as well. In comparison, Texas' offense has the 14th fewest strikeouts with 596.
Texas Rangers turn to Martin Perez to get back into win column
The pitching matchup today, will pit Martin Perez against Toronto's Kevin Gausman. Gausman is the ace of the staff and has performed extremely well over the last several seasons. The Rangers will be turning to their veteran lefty, Perez to help stop the bleeding tonight. Last year, Perez was the man to stop the losing streaks or slumps, and he had plenty of opportunities to do it. This season, there have only been a few slumps from the Rangers, but as they find themselves in the middle of one now, a strong outing by Perez will go a long way in righting the ship.
I am a sucker for great third base play. Buddy Bell is my all-time favorite player, I talked my parents into making my younger brother's middle name Wade (after Wade Boggs), and it was my primary position in high school ball when I wasn't pitching. So, the way that Josh Jung has burst on the scene this year as a rookie, is incredibly exciting to watch.
Josh Jung and Matt Chapman battle for All-Star votes
Jung and Matt Chapman are dueling it out to see who the All-Star starter at third base for the American League in Seattle will be. Chapman holds a slight advantage in voting. His numbers are solid, but the rookie Jung's are just as good or better. Chapman is hitting .267/.344/.463, has 23 doubles, nine home runs, 35 runs, 34 runs batted in, and a 126 OPS+. Jung is hitting .283/.339/.500, has 14 doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 48 runs, 40 runs batted in, and a 128 OPS+. I honestly can't speak for Chapman's defense this season, but as you all know that have been watching Jung man, the hot corner, he is playing phenomenal defense as well. I can't encourage you enough, to go vote, not only for Jung, but for all of the many deserving Rangers.
The Texas Rangers will look to get back to their winning ways this weekend as they host the Toronto Blue Jays. A series victory would be a much-needed boost to the team as they continue into the hot summer months of the MLB season. It is June 16th, and the Rangers are in first place, enjoy that fact. Listen to the radio, watch on tv, or get out to the ballpark to cheer for the boys this summer, as it is bound to be a fun one.