Texas Rangers drop opening series, lose Corey Kluber

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JULY 26: Corey Kluber (28) of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JULY 26: Corey Kluber (28) of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Texas Rangers’ starter Corey Kluber exited yesterday’s game after one inning.

We’re only three games into the condensed 60-game MLB campaign, but there are already a couple of notable red flags waving for the Texas Rangers. First and foremost, they only managed to plate five total runs over the course of the weekend.  You’re not going to win a whole lot of ballgames when you’re averaging less than two runs per outing.

Along those lines, it’s a list of usual suspects who are struggling at the plate. Shortstop Elvis Andrus, second baseman Rougned Odor, and left fielder Shin-Soo Choo are all sporting sub-.200 batting averages, which culminated in that troika going a combined 1-for-9 in yesterday’s 5-2 loss. Granted, it’s only three games, but this series did not transpire as planned for the home team.

Of course, the flip side is that the pitching has been more than serviceable. Opening night starter Lance Lynn was pretty dominant in Friday night’s 1-0 win. He struck out nine and allowed only two hits through six innings. In fact, it was Lynn’s outing that somewhat confirmed the Rangers’ strength this season, and that’s their starting pitching.

Despite taking the 3-2 loss on Saturday afternoon, starter Mike Minor posted a solid outing. Sure, it’d be great to see him be more efficient with his pitch count (98) and extend beyond five innings. But even then, he only allowed two runs–one earned–before coming out of the game. A little run support would have gone to great lengths to achieve a different result. Can’t win if you don’t score.

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So no worries, right? Corey Kluber was set to take the mound for the Sunday matinee with a chance to win the series and get the season off on the right foot. Encouragingly, the first inning looked fantastic. Kluber faced the minimum on eighteen pitches and displayed no outward signs of discomfort. So it was quite a startling development when the second inning started and left-hander Joe Palumbo took the bump. Word quickly got out that Kluber started feeling tightness in his throwing shoulder that worsened as the first inning progressed, thus prompting his removal. His status is currently day-to-day, but he’ll further evaluated today, so his prognosis is a bit open-ended.

Pardon me for exhibiting a sky-is-falling demeanor this morning, but this is the Rangers we’re talking about. Moreover, the fan base probably carries around a little more emotional baggage than the other pro teams in town, and that’s saying something. A series loss in a severely truncated season where the offense can’t score to save their lives is bad enough. But losing a key cog to the starting rotation on opening weekend is a little more salt in the wound than one would care for.

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In any event, it’s on to the next series starting Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The weekend didn’t provide the jumping off point that we had wished for, but the early season hope is still there. The sample size is very small, but early returns on the pitching are cause for optimism. The bats have to wake up, though, because time is precious and of the utmost essence this year.

  • Published on 07/27/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 07/27/2020 at 10:58 AM