Texas Rangers

Rangers aren’t doing much well during their slide, but this is main factor for their woes

Elvis Andrus discusses Rangers’ woes to end first half

Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus talks about his team’s current slide Saturday after a 7-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
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Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus talks about his team’s current slide Saturday after a 7-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

The revolving door to the big-league bullpen opened again Saturday morning and spun Pedro Payano into the Texas Rangers’ relief mix.

The 24-year-old started the season at Double A Frisco before getting promoted to Triple A Nashville on May 29. He’s pitched well, too, with a 3.91 ERA and a .202 opponents average.

When some is spun in, someone has to be spun out, and this time it was left-hander Locke St. John. Because Payano wasn’t on the 40-man roster, infielder Patrick Wisdom was spun out, too.

Wisdom was designated for assignment and will be assigned outright back to Nashville if he clears waivers.

It’s that kind of season for the Rangers’ pitching staff. The Payano move won’t be the last of its kind, especially if the Rangers can’t shake out of their current slump.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Saturday and a 7-4 loss.

The state of things

Things aren’t very good right now in Rangersland, where the home team has lost 6 of 7 games and slipped further behind in the race for the second wild card.

The pitching hasn’t been good, and the lineup has been inconsistent.

“Right now, it’s all around,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “It’s our pitching. We’re not hitting, especially early in the game. We’re doing something late. Something that we were doing, especially in June, was set the tone of the game early, score a lot of runs early, and right now it’s not happening.”

But the biggest factor has been the schedule. The Rangers aren’t playing a bunch of pushovers anymore.

Just look at who has been beating them:

Tampa Bay? Really good. Anaheim? Playing better. Minnesota? Really good.

The Rangers’ next opponent, to start the second half? Really good Houston.

Perhaps the Rangers are being exposed a bit here. They can beat the tar out of the Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners, but struggle against top-division clubs.

Sure, the Rangers did well last month at Boston and have played well at home against the Astros, but the Rangers still haven’t completely solved the good teams and how to win consistently on the road.

It’s going to be tough to get to the playoffs if those to areas aren’t resolved quickly.

Yeah, but ...

Yes, Mike Minor would like to pitch in the All-Star Game. It would be fun, he said, to face the best of the best.

But he also pitches for the Texas Rangers, who, despite their recent woes, believe they are in the playoff hunt. They need their best pitcher fresh for the second half, especially with his first two starts scheduled against the division-leading Astros.

So, he’s going to get a longer-than-expected break -- 10 days’ rest -- after the Rangers scratched him from his Sunday start. In theory, that makes him eligible again to pitch for the American League team.

Of course, he’s already been replaced on the AL roster, so there’s that.

Boy, it sure looks like the Rangers have robbed Minor of a chance to shine on the national stage.

It looks that way.

What’s being lost by some is that Minor is on board with the decision. The Rangers didn’t just hit him over the head with this, as he said it was something that had been discussed for weeks and months.

If he wasn’t happy, he would have objected.

So, Joe Palumbo will pitch Sunday in some capacity. Manager Chris Woodward said that Jose Leclerc will start ahead the left-hander. With the All-Star break to follow, the Rangers might consider some form of a bullpen day to get them through the powerful Twins lineup.

Considering the state of things, Minor sure would look good on the mound. But he is on board with the decision to scratch him.

What snub?

Maybe Lance Lynn feels like he has been overlooked for the American League All-Star team, and he has quite the case.

“That’s a good discussion,” he said.

He was not selected Friday to replace teammate Mike Minor for Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Cleveland, but Woodward said that MLB has notified the Rangers he is on the short-list.

Lynn, though, is scheduled to start Thursday for the Rangers as they open the second half against the Houston Astros and wouldn’t be able to pitch. He has a solution for the whole dilemma.

“I’m going on vacation,” he said.

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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.
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