Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers’ grip on wild card is slipping away in large part because of this

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of the Texas Rangers postseason hopes for 2019?

The Cleveland Indians laid another beat down on the Rangers Wednesday night. After Texas won the series opener on Monday, Cleveland has won the past two by a combined score of 20-7.

Cleveland is now a half game ahead of Texas in the wild card standings. The Boston Red Sox are a full game ahead of the Rangers for the second wild card spot.

We’re still in June so make of it what you will. But the Rangers are 20-24 against teams with a winning record and 19-11 against teams under .500.

Rangers observations:

1. Hail Chavez — Jesse Chavez came in and pitched five innings of relief after Joe Palumbo was knocked out after just two-plus innings. Chavez held the Indians to a run on four hits. The lone mistake was a homer to Jason Kipnis in the fifth. It was Kipnis’ second homer of the game. Could Chavez be considered a starting rotation option?

“It’s hard not to,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s definitely an option we are going to discuss and see what makes the most sense. Chavez has done a great job for us all year, especially the last couple of months.”

2. Palumbo — After his second career start, Palumbo didn’t have a lot of answers for what went wrong. The seven runs he allowed are the most in his career (including the minors). He allowed 10 of the 15 batters he faced to reach base. He allowed six hits, including two homers, and three walks. Woodward thought the Indians were sitting on his fastball. Palumbo wasn’t sure.

“I let the team down today. I wish I could have been better,” Palumbo said. “My gameplan going in was the same. I don’t know [if they were sitting on the fastball]. I was throwing it and they were hitting it.”

Palumbo said he felt fine. The results just weren’t there.

“I learned if you leave stuff up, if you hang stuff, it’s going to get hit,” he said. “You can’t really afford to make mistakes [in the big leagues].”

Woodward said the outing will be a learning moment for Palumbo.

“They were all over him. They were not letting the fastball get by without having a good rip at it,” Woodward said. “That’s obviously a lesson for him to have other weapons, especially his changeup. Once he started throwing his changeup for strikes, he had a little better results. His fastball has some characteristics you would have to make an adjustment to hit and they did that. He is going to have to adapt the next time he sees that.”

3. Gallo update — Joey Gallo started a rehab assignment Wednesday in Surprise, Arizona. Gallo has been on the IL since June 2 with a left oblique strain. He’s eligible to return as soon as he’s able. Outfielder Scott Heineman, who has been on the 60-day IL this season after offseason surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder, was also assigned to Arizona. He was active with Triple-A Nashville from May 21-27 before left shoulder soreness sidelined him again.

4. Springs injured — Reliever Jeffrey Springs was put on the injured list before Wednesday’s game with a with left biceps tendinitis. Springs is 4-1 with a 6.23 ERA in 20 relief appearances. He’s eligible to return on June 27.

5. Gardewine re-signs — Nick Gardewin, who was designated for assignment on June 8 and given his unconditional release on June 15, re-signed a two-year minor league deal with the Rangers. He’s been on the injured list with a right shoulder strain since April 14 with Triple-A Nashville.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.