The Texas Rangers throughout their history have been known more as the team that needed pitching, but could never get or develop pitching. It is a story that goes back to when the team moved from Washington D.C. to Arlington. That has changed in 2023. Chris Young last offseason was able to sign Jacob deGrom, Andrew Heaney, and Nathan Eovaldi to lucrative free agent contracts. The trade deadline featured the shocking trade for future hall of famer Max Scherzer. I found myself watching Scherzer prowl around the mound on Monday night and just be amazed that he is pitching for the Texas Rangers.
In my time as a fan of this organization, I have seen this team chase after pitchers such as Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett, Chris Sale, and Luis Castillo. Time after time they came up short and instead would sign pitchers such as Chan Ho Park and Kevin Millwood, or trade for a broken-down Corey Kluber. Prior to this season the only two times I can remember Texas actually getting the best pitchers on the market at the trade deadline was Todd Stottlemyre in 1998 and then Cliff Lee in 2010. Both trades directly helped the Rangers make the playoffs and in Lee's case make the World Series. Time will tell what will happen as a result of the trade for Scherzer, but early returns are very positive.
Max Scherzer continues his dominant run in the dog days of Summer
Scherzer made his third start for Texas on Monday night against the Angels. Scherzer has been in the National League so long that this was his first start against the Angels since 2014 and it would be the first time he has faced Shohei Ohtani.
The at-bats that everyone was excited for was when he faced Ohtani. The Japanese two-way superstar crushed Rangers pitching last time he was in Arlington and almost single-handedly carried the Angels to winning three out of four and reducing the Rangers' divisional lead. Monday was different as Ohtani was now facing one of the best pitchers in baseball. Scherzer won the day against Ohtani, striking him out twice and inducing a infield pop up.
Scherzer's domination was not limited to just Ohtani. The right-hander kept the entire Angels lineup to just one hit, a ground ball off the bat of Mike Moustakas that went off the glove of Marcus Semien and rolled into shallow right-field. He struck out 11, walked one, and pitched seven scoreless innings. He added to his total of double-digit strikeout games to 112, but it was his first in a Rangers uniform. It was his best start since coming over from New York and continued a dominant run from Scherzer since the trade deadline. Scherzer is 3-0 in August with a 1.80 ERA, and has 26 strikeouts to five walks.
The trade initially had fans worried because Scherzer had been pitching below the high standards he has established throughout his career. The new team, new teammates, and new city have seemingly rejuvenated the three-time Cy Young winner. The trade now appears that the Rangers got a steal by having to give up just Luisangel Acuna and having the Mets pay a majority of the rest of this contract. This may go down as the best trade made this season, depending on what happens the next three months.
The relentless Texas Rangers' lineup punishes Angels pitching
Texas despite what Scherzer gave does not win if the offense is not productive. The offense produced on Monday night. Everyone who started the game had at least one hit except for Duran. Adolis Garcia had his 30th home run of the season, Marcus Semien had five RBIs, Robbie Grossman had two doubles, and JP Martinez had his third consecutive two-hit game. They received production from one through nine in the lineup. Duran did not have a hit, but he did take a walk and score a run.
Texas scored 12 runs in the game. It is their 23rd game this season scoring double digits in runs, which leads all of baseball. Their run differential increased to +193, which is inching closer to 200 runs and is closing in on Atlanta's league-high total of 201. Their win continued a home winning streak that has now reached eight. Texas just continues to rack up wins and they now lead the division by 3.5 games over Houston and 7.5 over Seattle. Texas with the win improves to 71-48.
Preview of Tuesday's contest
Texas and Los Angeles play again in game two on Tuesday night. It will be two trade deadline acquisitions facing off. Jordan Montgomery will start for Texas and Lucas Giolito will start for Los Angeles.
Montgomery has been as advertised since coming over from St. Louis. He pitches deep into games, is able to limit runs, and is efficient. In two starts for the Rangers, he has pitched six innings in both starts and has allowed just two runs in each of the starts. I would expect to see him pitch a similar effort Tuesday night.
Giolito came over from the Chicago White Sox in the trade that announced to the baseball world that the Angels would not be trading Ohtani at the deadline. Since coming over Giolito has continued what was an inconsistent season. He has had two good starts and one terrible start. He has pitched five innings or longer in two starts allowing three runs in each of those starts. Those two starts are sandwiched around a start against Atlanta where he allowed nine runs in 3 2/3 innings. Who knows what kind of effort Giolito will give the Angels tonight?
The game tonight is at 7:05pm in Arlington and it will be broadcast locally on Bally Sports Southwest.