Texas Rangers

Sampson? The offense? Woodward? A look at who was most culpable Thursday in Rangers’ loss

Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field now 62% complete

The Texas Rangers' new ballpark, Globe Life Field, is now 62 percent complete and on pace to be ready for the 2020 season, club officials said. The Rangers also announced they had inked a multiyear sponsorship deal with Choctaw Casinos & Resorts.
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The Texas Rangers' new ballpark, Globe Life Field, is now 62 percent complete and on pace to be ready for the 2020 season, club officials said. The Rangers also announced they had inked a multiyear sponsorship deal with Choctaw Casinos & Resorts.

Chris Woodward said that he had learned a lesson or two from his first career ejection Tuesday night.

The first, though he didn’t say it, was to never trust umpire Angel Hernandez to do the right thing. The second was to never take an umpire for granted. The third was to carry a stopwatch with him for future potential challenges.

And that’s what Woodward did in the fifth inning Thursday night as the Texas Rangers’ manager challenged a Hernandez call at second base.Woodward ran his stopwatch as he awaited word on whether to challenge.

He did, within the 30 seconds. It’s a good thing he was monitoring the time, because the stadium clock was not as Hernandez said Tuesday it either had or should have been.

How convenient for him.

Hernandez was working a stopwatch, too, as it turns out, and he didn’t do anything too awful in the series finale against the Boston Red Sox.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 7-6 loss.

1. In the span of five days, Adrian Sampson went from throwing a complete game to failing to hold a five-run lead.

The right-hander was staked to leads of 4-0 in the first inning and 6-1 in the second, but coughed up the Rangers’ early success against David Price by the fifth. The Red Sox hit four home runs off Sampson, including a three-run shot by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second, to get themselves righted.

After being in such a groove heading into the start, he could command his pitches and his slider wasn’t as effective. When he made mistakes, he ended up paying for them.

“That was just a credit to those guys,” Sampson said. “They didn’t miss. I’ve got to do a better job putting up zeroes after we score.”

Should Sampson have been allowed to pitch five innings with the way he was giving up homers? Woodward said that he was in a bind because the Rangers were short-handed in the bullpen.

That didn’t have anything to do with the fact that the Rangers are throwing a bullpen game Friday, but rather who wasn’t available Thursday night. Woodward was concerned that the Rangers might run out of arms late if he went to the bullpen too early.

“We would have been in trouble if we went into extra innings,” Woodward said. “That was my concern.”

Woodward also said that the Rangers can’t lose games when they score six runs, especially against a team they could be competing with for a playoff spot down the stretch.

The series was split, but the Rangers had a chance to gain some ground on their grasp on the second wild-card spot with a mere 94 games to go.

But Sampson, who allowed six runs in five innings, wasn’t solely responsible for a loss that resulted in a split in the four-game series. The offense did plenty of damage the first two innings but didn’t score again.

The Rangers left the bases loaded twice, which accounted for the bulk of their 15 runners left on base. They were 4 for 17 with runners in scoring position, but 4 for 4 against Price.

He was finished after 1 1/3 innings.

Asdrubal Cabrera had the toughest night, going 0 for 5 and leaving nine.

The Rangers entered the game batting .281 with runners in scoring position, second in the American League.

“That’s baseball,” said Hunter Pence, who had three hits. “They have very good pitching, and we had some good at-bats. You’ve to go play all nine, and you have to find ways to keep getting runs in.”

2. Put this one down as an odd one for Shin-Soo Choo, though if anyone on this Rangers team is going to pull it off, it’s him.

He became the first Rangers player since Mark Teixeira in 2007 to reach base safely at least five times without collecting a hit. He was plunked his first two times up and walked three other times.

He has a couple of new bruises to treat after Price hit him twice in the bee-hind in the first two innings. Choo already had a pretty impressive collection.

He continues to receive treatment for the bruise on his left hand stemming from an hit by pitch last week. He was treating a massive Thursday afternoon on his left thigh after he was hit there Wednesday.

Choo has been hit five times in the past eight days, and each one continues to pad his club record for times hit. He’s up to 61 with the Rangers and 142 in his career.

That’s a lot of pain, including a broken forearm in 2016.

Choo is now considering the possibility of something else getting bust.

He might start wearing a cup.

It’s alarming how many players don’t protect the family jewels. Adrian Beltre still didn’t after suffering a ruptured testicle in 2009, and Ronald Guzman wasn’t wearing one Wednesday when a grounder to first got him.

But just the tip.

That should be enough to convince Guzman and Choo to cup up, but comfort was prevailing over common sense.

3. The Rangers were headed to Cincinnati late Thursday, or was it early Friday? It was the latter, actually.

National League rules await, which means that the Rangers will be forced to sit one of their best-hitting outfielders -- Pence, Choo and Nomar Mazara -- at least once in the three-game series that will be played without the designated hitter.

At least Woodward will have a good bench. Hey, it worked out pretty well with Pence last month at Pittsburgh.

Jesse Chavez will start the bullpen game in place of Drew Smyly, who might actually help to fill the his rotation vacancy with a full relief innings. Woodward, though, said that it will take a blowout, one way or the other.

Delino DeShields will be reunited with his father, Delino DeShields, who is the first-base coach for the Cincinnati Reds. It will happen Father’s Day weekend, and that’s a nice storyline for Stefan Stevenson to track down.

Back at home, Paul McCartney will be playing at Globe Life Park while his stage and upwards of 10,000 chairs are destroying the outfield grass. There might be some bad hops in the outfield Monday as the Rangers return home.

So far, they are 2-2 on a seven-game road trip. After Thursday, they feel like they let an opportunity slip away.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.