Manager: Jeff Banister (4th season)
Last 10 games: 5-5
Who to watch: 1B Joey Gallo (26 HR, 59 RBI), DH Shin-soo Choo (20 HR, 51 RBI), CF Delino DeShields (18 SB), C Robinson Chirinos (14 HR, 45 RBI), 3B Adrián Beltré (.287), LHP Mike Minor (7-6, 4.73 ERA)
Season series vs. Orioles: 1-2
August 2: RHP Andrew Cashner (3-9) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-1); 8:05 p.m., MASN2
August 3: RHP David Hess (2-5) vs. RHP Ariel Jurado (1-1); 8:05 p.m., MASN2
August 4: RHP Dylan Bundy (7-9) vs. LHP Mike Minor (7-6); 8:05 p.m., MASN2
August 5: RHP Yefry Ramírez (1-4) vs. RHP Martin Pérez (2-4); 3:05 p.m., MASN2
Inside the Rangers:
The Rangers are in the midst of a rebuild, as shown by their front office’s maneuvers throughout July and leading up to Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. The organization shipped out four players: opening day starter Cole Hamels, righty Jesse Chavez, closer Keone Kela and lefty Jake Diekman. Eleven new players were acquired. The majority of the young prospects are set to join the minor leagues to help spur the rebuild while retooling the farm system. The only two new Rangers to be promoted to the 40-man roster are right-handed relievers Eddie Butler and Cory Gearrin. The last 10 games have been a mixed bag with a 5-5 record that includes four-game winning and losing streaks.
SImilar to their opponent for the next four days, marquee names have disappeared and both squads will rely on their young foundational players to lead them for the foreseeable future. Joey Gallo got a rest during Tuesday’s series finale against Arizona after going 0-for-5 on Monday evening. Gallo still leads the Rangers with 26 homers and 59 RBIs, but boasts only a .187 batting mark. Prior to Monday’s matchup against the D-Backs, Shin-soo Choo (.277) was 4-for-36 in his previous nine games. Choo knocked in a three-run homer in the fifth inning and then followed it up with the knockout blow with his solo homer in the eighth, his 10th career multi-homer game. Of his 20 homers on the season, 18 have come against right-handed pitchers. Since the All-Star break, catcher Robinson Chirinos is hitting .318 (11-for-35) with three homers and eight RBIs.
Thursday’s starter, right-hander Yovani Gallardo, spent 2016 as a member of the Orioles. As of late, he has earned consecutive wins in two straight appearances. He is 1-1 with a 5.94 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles. Rookie Ariel Jurado starts Friday night. He’s a 22-year-old who picked up his first career big league win on July 27 after being called up to face the world champion Astros. Jurado struck out two, allowing just one run on two hits with one walk over a span of six innings. Lefty Mike Minor got the victory in his last start on July 29, giving up two runs on four hits and just one walk in six innings after striking out eight. Minor’s heroics against the defending champs helped secure the Rangers three-game sweep of the Astros. Martin Pérez gave up two runs on six hits and two walks in his last appearance on July 30, striking out five batters but not factoring into the decision. The right-hander has not fared well historically against the Orioles, going 2-4 with a 5.36 ERA in seven career starts.
It will be interesting to see who manager Jeff Banister elects as his closer for the remainder of the season after the departure of his top two relievers in Kela and Diekman at the trade deadline. The most likely candidate is 24-year-old José Leclerc (2.27 ERA). He has has 56 strikeouts on the season in 39 2/3 innings.