The Texas Rangers hit the road out to the west coast this past week looking to make a sizable lead in the American League West. They started their trip off in the great city of Oakland where they took on the Athletics and took two out of the three games for a series win.
The team got the day off in between series out there and most of the team decided to relax on that day. Some went out and toured the city while others chilled back at the hotel recovering for the next series against the San Fransisco Giants.
You could tell how much it meant to Texas Rangers Manager Bruce Bochy when he got a huge ovation returning to Oracle Park. He saluted the fans from the dugout after a wonderful tribute video from the Giants thanking him for his time with the organization.
When you lead the team to three World Series titles, fans will definitely remember you for that. The Rangers went out there and fought hard to get two out of three wins against the Giants. Sunday's loss was a heartbreaker after the Rangers rallied with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game.
They would eventually take the lead in the tenth inning on a go-ahead balk which is rare to happen in a game. Unfortunately, Will Smith couldn't get the final out as Patrick Bailey would smoke a walk-off home run to get the win on Sunday. It stinks to see that happen after how the Rangers battled back but that is the way that baseball goes according to former Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington.
The pitching from the Rangers was excellent, especially in San Francisco this weekend. We got to see what a vintage Jon Gray outing looks like as he pitched seven wonderful innings of baseball where he only allowed two hits and struck out seven batters.
Dane Dunning had one of the best performances this weekend where he struck out 12 batters in seven innings of work which is his career best. It stinks we couldn't get the win for him but he is starting to look like a playoff starter on the mound.
Grant Anderson was able to get out of a bases loaded jam when he had to come in for Andrew Heaney when he wasn't having a great night Saturday. The bullpen fed off of Anderson's performance and carried the Rangers to victory.
Who remembers the iconic scene in Avengers: Endgame when Captain America looks exhausted from battling Thanos and he hears, "Captain, on your left" and everyone starts to appear through the portals? It felt like that on Sunday when Jonah Heim was activated and was the starting catcher.
He is one of the best framers in the league and you could tell Dunning was excited to have him back catching for him. Let's hope the good news continues in a couple of weeks when Eovaldi is back with the team if there are no major setbacks.
The Rangers will return home to take on Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels to start off the week. It was reported that Ohtani will not be pitching against the Rangers so that is really good news on that front. They will then wrap up the homestand next weekend taking on the Milwaukee Brewers. Let's hope the Rangers can widen the American League West lead this week.
Texas Rangers Weekly Report: Who's Hot
Garver was a lifesaver this past week producing the offense for the Rangers. He had seven hits, one HR, and brought in 6 RBIs. His batting average over the last week was .368.
When Heim was out with the wrist injury, we needed someone to step up and produce in his absence. Well, Garver surely did that this past week along with Corey Seager. Now that Heim is back, he can be in the DH spot to keep producing offense for this team. You can see his solo shot at the 23-second marker down below.
Dunning has really surprised me lately as a starting pitcher. He was a bullpen arm until Jacob DeGrom was ruled out for the remainder of the year and he has stepped up big time in his absence. Dunning threw a career-high 12 strikeouts against the Giants on Sunday. When we got to the eighth inning, I was like, "Let him keep dealing strikeouts." When Jose Leclerc came into the game I knew his day was officially over. I wonder if he can continue this amazing performance in the playoffs if we make it.
Texas Rangers Weekly Report: Who's Not Hot
Josh H. Smith
I know he's kind of forced to play at times now with Jung out with an injury but his bat isn't helping the offense. He only produced four hits in 23 at-bats this past week and recorded only one RBI. I need to see improvement in his at-bats moving forward until Jung is healthy again. I don't want to imagine him coming up to bat with the bases loaded with two outs because I know what the result would be.
I understand that the reason he only went an inning against the Giants was due to a stomach bug that he got in Oakland. The reason why he is on the bottom list this week is he should have told Bochy he was in no way in shape to pitch. His control was all over the place leaving the bases loaded with 0 outs in the second inning on Saturday night. Luckily, Grant Anderson was able to come in and stop them from getting on the board. Personally, Perez should have started in Heaney's place on Saturday.