Elvis Andrus: Rangers were so close to series win vs. Astros
The Houston Astros will never play again at Globe Life Park.
On Sunday, they wrapped up their final series before Globe Life Field opens across the street next season. The Texas Rangers went 59-44 against the Astros at GLP.
How did the Astros fare in their Globe Life finale?
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 12-4 loss to the Astros.
State of the rotation
Former TCU and Rangers pitcher Andrew Cashner and Homer Bailey have changed starting rotations the past two days as the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s, contenders for the second wild card into the American League playoffs, struck ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
The Texas Rangers are contenders for that spot, too, and there is ample time to put a deal for a starting pitcher together. Or a reliever. Or both.
The rotation has an All-Star (Mike Minor), a right-hander who is pitching better than the All-Star (Lance Lynn), two other righties (Jesse Chavez, Adrian Sampson) who fit better in the bullpen, and Ariel Jurado.
Jurado allowed the first five Astros to reach Sunday en route to a three-run first inning, and the Astros struck for two more in the second. His ERA as a starter climbed to 5.60, and his results of late have looked more like he did in 2018 than the pitcher who generated some excitement last month.
With little trust in half of the relievers, manager Chris Woodward kept Jurado around through the fourth. Phillips Valdez entered and survived a scoreless fifth, and Jesse Biddle worked a scoreless sixth before reverting to the form that made him available on the waiver wire.
Kyle Bird followed, allowing a grand slam to Jose Altuve, and expect him to be optioned Tuesday when Hunter Pence comes off the injured list.
Yeah, the bullpen needs a makeover, too. If there isn’t a trade, count Rangers Reaction as firmly behind Demarcus Evans, Joe Barlow or Emmanuel Clase at Double A Frisco.
But the Rangers don’t have a starter in the minors who would be an upgrade. Jon Daniels will have to go outside the organization and maybe get the owners to open their wallets.
That would, in turn, help the bullpen by keeping Sampson there or moving Chavez there.
A deal now can be done, as the Red Sox and A’s have shown. Daniels has shown it in the past, too, and needs find another in short order.
Five hits, including two homers and a walk-off single, Friday and Saturday earned Danny Santana a spot on the Rangers’ bench for the finale against the Astros. Santana was also hitting .556 (10 for 18) during a four-game hitting streak.
Santana had a 12-game hitting streak at Globe Life Park with six homers in that span.
He had an .866 OPS.
Rougned Odor, the owner of a .657 OPS, was in the lineup after getting a day off Saturday against left-hander Wade Miley. He entered the day batting .194, 115 points worse than Santana, but did collect an RBI single in the first inning.
Two things Odor has going for him are his defense at second base and his salary, not necessarily in that order. He has been more productive of late, but not as productive as Santana.
The salary, though, is keeping Odor on his long leash. The Rangers owe him around $30 million through 2022. Trade him? No chance. Release? Nope.
So, the Rangers have three choices with Odor: Play him, bench him or option him to the minors.
If they remain in contention and Santana continues to be very good, playing Odor becomes an less desirable option.
Angels in August
From the strange-but-true files: It was 85 degrees at first pitch at Globe Life Park on the second Sunday of July.
Who needs a roof?
The temperature at 1 p.m. Aug. 20 is TBA, but the guess is it won’t be 85 when the Los Angels Angels and Texas Rangers make up the game that was postponed July 1 after the tragic death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
The combined no-hitter the Angels threw Friday as they honored Skaggs has reverberated across the game.
David Murphy, the former Texas Rangers outfielder who filled in over the weekend as color analyst, got to know Skaggs some while with the Angels late in 2015. Murphy was on a family vacation July 1 when he learned of Skaggs’ death.
Chavez has started twice since Skaggs passed. They played together in 2017, and Chavez has written 45 in the lower-right corner of the front of his Rangers cap and Swaggy in the lower-left front corner.
He said it will still be there in August when the Angels come back to town.