Why did Lance Lynn join the Rangers? “There’s quite a few things”
Elvis Andrus was in the Texas Rangers’ lineup Tuesday night, batting third and playing shortstop the day after he thought he had broken his right hand.
A set of negative x-rays after he was hit by a first-inning pitch Monday eased his concerns and helped convince him that it was OK to play against the Oakland A’s.
“For me, it’s that I know it’s not broken,” Andrus said. “Now, I can go and swing hard a and know I can’t get hurt.”
Andrus singled with two outs in the first inning, stole second and scored on a Nomar Mazara double.
That was one of the few highlights for the Rangers at Oakland Coliseum.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from an 11-5 loss.
1. The Rangers won’t have Drew Smyly on Wednesday, so they really needed Lance Lynn to do what he prides himself on doing — pitching deep into games.
Doing so would prevent manager Chris Woodward from being tempted to use long man Kyle Dowdy, the preferred choice to start the series finale. Wei-Chieh Huang, fresh off an airplane, would be the first man up if Lynn, the workhorse, was reined in.
What were the chances of that happening?
Lynn nearly allowed as many runs (eight) as he recorded outs (10). Six of those runs came in the fourth, after the Rangers had failed to score in the top half despite loading the bases with no outs.
(Don’t think there wasn’t a shift in momentum there, either.)
“Terrible,” Lynn said. “Everything they put in play was a hit, whether it was hit hard or not. It was just one of those innings when it didn’t matter what you did.”
The eight runs allowed matched Lynn’s career high. He allowed seven over 5 2/3 innings in his Rangers debut in the third game of the season.
The Rangers actually led 1-0 in the first and 2-1 in the second, but Lynn failed to provide shutdown innings. Matt Chapman kept a fastball just fair for a first-inning homer two pitches after plate ump Joe West missed a third strike, and the A’s started the second with a triple and quickly evened the score.
“Whenever you get a run or two, you have to make it hold up,” Lynn said.
The Rangers are now facing the prospect of a three-game sweep. Staff ace Mike Minor couldn’t pitch them to a win Monday, No. 2 starter Lynn wasn’t good enough Tuesday, and Dowdy will be making his first MLB start Wednesday.
He isn’t stretched out enough to work six or seven innings. With Huang and Jeffrey Springs working multiple innings after Lynn, the Rangers’ bullpen will have its hands full Wednesday and could need a fresh arm Thursday at Seattle.
But it’s premature to put the Rangers down for a third straight L. Anything can happen in baseball, like the workhorse being reined in.
2. Ronald Guzman wants to play really badly. He’s doing every baseball activity without pain in his strained right hamstring, fueling his desire to get going again.
The latest MRI exam, though, doesn’t want him to play.
The first baseman still has a small tear and some tenderness in the hamstring, so he won’t be joining second baseman Rougned Odor on Wednesday in Iowa for a rehab assignment with Triple A Nashville.
Instead, Guzman’s next destination is the Surprise Recreation Campus in Arizona to get at-bats in extended spring games. He can hit there whenever he wants and doesn’t even have to run the bases, a luxury that wouldn’t be afforded to him in real games in the minors.
“The only place we can do that is Arizona,” Woodward said. “He wants to hit. He wants to get at-bats. If he has another week or so of at-bats, he’ll be in much better shape to handle the competition when he comes back.”
The good news is that Guzman understands what the medical staff is telling him and won’t press to return. That said, the Rangers expect him to be back at some point next week.
“I’ve never had a hamstring problem, so I don’t know how to deal with it,” Guzman said. “I feel like I can play, but I don’t want to come back and lose two months.”
Guzman and Odor took live batting practice Tuesday, facing right-hander Joe Kuzia and left-hander Juan Carlos Mejia from extended spring training.
Odor said his right knee is good to go. He could join the Rangers on Friday in Seattle.
3. A pretty amazing run for Shin-Soo Choo came to an end early Tuesday night when he started the game with a grounder to second base.
The out ended a string of 10 straight games as a leadoff hitter in which Choo reached in the first inning. It was the longest streak since Johnny Damon reached in 10 straight for the Kansas City Royals.
Choo had started with a double in three straight games and doubled six times in the streak.
The impact Choo had isn’t hard to measure. The Rangers went only 5-5, but they scored 57 runs in those 10 games with Choo scoring 11 times.
Woodward said that Choo puts instant pressure on a starting pitcher.
“It’s just the professionalism of his at-bat,” Woodward said. “He goes up there looking to hit and do damage. He’s ready to you. He swings at the first pitch some times. He’s not up there taking. The quality of his ABs are the best on our team by far.”
For the season, Choo is 9 for 14 when leading off a game.
“He’s ready from pitch 1,” Woodward said. “If a guy throws a meatball down the middle of the plate, he’s ready to hit. It’s fun to watch.”