The Texas Rangers’ double-play combination of shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor no longer are the starters.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward said this weekend the emphasis over the final month of the season will be getting the team’s youngsters more playing time.
Considering the Rangers (13-26) have lost five games in a row and 17 of their past 20, it’s time to start looking toward next year. They’ll wrap up a four-game series Monday in Seattle.
Anderson Tejeda played shortstop and Nick Solak second base in Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Mariners, who have won five games in a row.
In addition, 21-year-old Leody Taveras started in center field and batted leadoff. Taveras hit a solo home run.
“I don’t think it’s about not playing, just not on an everyday basis,” Woodward said, referring to the older players on the team. “We’ve got to get these (young) guys in games. This is the only way we can do that. You know, lineups will be a little bit different. If guys have good games, I’d like to give them another opportunity. There’s going to be a lot of conversations, a lot of learning.”
Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman also hit solo homers Sunday for the Rangers. It was Gallo’s team-leading eighth of the season, but he’s still batting just .179.
“He is struggling this year, I get it,” Woodward said of Gallo. “But … I’d like to see him have more success this year just for his own personal sake, just to know this isn’t going to spiral and create some disbelief in his mind that he can’t do what he did last year. I’m looking up at the baseball gods to kind of getting him going for the last 20 games and finish on a good note.”
Left-hander Kolby Allard (0-4, 5.40 ERA), who turned 23 last month, is scheduled to start Monday afternoon’s series finale for the Rangers. He’s 1-1 with an 8.53 ERA in two career starts against the Mariners. The loss came Aug. 21 in Seattle, when he allowed four runs on five hits in just two-thirds of an inning.
The Mariners will send ace Marco Gonzales (4-2, 3.09 ERA) to the mound. The Rangers beat Gonzales 4-2 on Aug. 11 in Arlington, Texas, but he’s coming off his second career complete game, a four-hitter in a 2-1 victory against the host Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 31. Gonzales is 5-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 11 career starts against the Rangers.
Third baseman Kyle Seager had a two-run homer and a single in Sunday’s victory, moving him past Jay Buhner for fourth place on the Mariners’ all-time hit list with 1,256. The only players ahead of him are Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr.
For the rebuilding Mariners (18-22), their five-game winning streak has pulled them within three games of a wild-card playoff berth in the American League.
“We are a totally different team,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “No doubt about it. It’s fun to watch it every day. You can score runs in a number of ways, you can prevent runs in a number of ways. It’s just not hit the ball over the fence and hope you strike everybody out. Everybody’s contributing.”
–Field Level Media