After they closed the month of August by losing 10 of their final 13 games and falling to third place in the American League West, few teams are as eager to turn the calendar as quickly as the Texas Rangers.
Texas manager Bruce Bochy remains optimistic about his club, which begins a three-game series against the visiting Minnesota Twins on Friday in Arlington, Texas.
“We let some games slip away — we have to get better at that, there’s no getting around it,” Bochy said. “We’ll put it behind us. We’ve got a day off (Thursday). I think some fellows need a break. We’re home for a while and hopefully we’ll get clicking here with this offense.”
Minnesota also is looking to bounce back after losing two of three to the Cleveland Guardians. The first-place Twins had their lead over the Guardians in the AL Central cut to five games on Wednesday after Cleveland rallied for a 10-inning, 5-2 victory.
“It’s tough, all around,” Twins pitcher Sonny Gray said. “I don’t think anybody in that locker room feels good about it. For the most part, we played a good game. It just got away from us at the end. This is a tough one.”
The game marked the Twins‘ first loss this season when leading after eight innings. Despite the series loss, closer Jhoan Duran said his team still controls its postseason fate.
“I feel pretty confident,” Duran said. “We lost this series, which was very important, especially with one month left, but I’m confident in everyone, and we’ll eventually overcome this.”
This weekend’s series opens with a pair of right-handers facing each other for the second time in less than a week. Texas’ Max Scherzer (12-5, 3.71 ERA) is set to square off against Minnesota’s Joe Ryan (9-8, 4.33).
Scherzer received a no-decision last Saturday against the Twins after allowing two runs with 10 strikeouts over seven innings.
“He really was outstanding,” Bochy said. “I tell you, he competes as well as any pitcher I’ve seen. So locked in and focused on what he wants to do. We needed it, obviously. We had our guy out there. He came through for us.”
Scherzer is 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in his first five starts covering 30 2/3 innings since being acquired from the New York Mets.
Carlos Correa is 3-for-10 against Scherzer, who is 9-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 17 career starts versus Minnesota.
The Twins could use more production from Correa, who signed a six-year, $200 million contract prior to the season. Correa has three hits in his last 28 at-bats (.107) over a seven-game stretch and has grounded into a major league-high 28 double plays.
Ryan did not factor into the decision last Saturday after pitching five innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts. His lone run allowed was a home run to Mitch Garver in the second inning.
Garver is hitting .302 (26-for-86) with eight homers and 16 RBIs over his last 24 games to raise his season batting average from .252 to .273.
Robbie Grossman is 1-for-11 against Ryan, who is 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA in his two previous starts versus Texas.
—Field Level Media