Wednesday, May 29, 2024
World Elite Syndicate

MLB Preview: Texas Rangers (30-18) at Pittsburgh Pirates (25-23)

TEXAS RANGERS NOTES:

WINS AND LOSSES: Texas defeated Pittsburgh yesterday, 6-1, in the 2nd game of a 3 G set (1-1 + 1 G today)…team then enjoys an off day on Thurs., as they continue a 9-G, 10- day trip in BAL (3 G) and DET (3 G)…club is now 9-6 in the 2nd G of a series…TEX has won 4 of 5, 5 of 7, 7 of 10 and 9 of 13 and 12 of last 17 G…TEX is an A.L.-best 16-7 (.696) in last 23 G beg. 4/28, 2nd-highest win pct. in MLB in that span (LAD is 18-6, .750)…TEX is 16-11 in last 27 G, but still 23-13 in last 36 G and 26-14 in last 40 G beg. 4/9.

  • At 30-18 (.625), TEX owns the 3rd-best record in the A.L. and MLB (see chart below)…club’s 30 wins rank T3rd in A.L. and T4th in MLB (35-TB, 31-BAL/LAD, 30-NYY/TEX).
  • The 30-18 start marks Rangers’ best 48-G start to a season since 2013 (31-17), and is T3rd-best start in club history.
  • TEX is back to a season high 12 G above .500 for the 2nd time this season (also 29-17 on Sun.)…it is the 2nd time since the end of 2016 (95-67) that the team is over 12 G… from 2020-22, TEX spent a total of one day above .500 (10-9 on 8/15/20).

BEST RECORDS IN MLB, 2023
Win Pct. Team W-L
.700 Tampa Bay 35-15
.646 Baltimore 31-17
.625 Texas 30-18
.620 Los Angeles-NL 31-19

WITH A WIN TODAY, Texas could:

  • Climb to a season-best 13 G above .500 for 1st time since the end of the 2016 season.
  • Move to 31-18, which would be one of the 4 best 49-G starts in team history (see chart above).
  • Earn a series win, moving club to 10-2-1 in last 11 series, a 6-2-0 record in 8 road series and 4th straight road series win.
  • Win their 1st road series against an Interleague opponent in 2023 (0-2-0 after playing at CHC and at CIN).
  • Win a 7th straight day game (improving to a 13-4 record).
  • Improve to 4-0 in rubber games on the road (5-1 overall).

STANDINGS: Rangers again hold a 2.0-game lead in the A.L. West over 2nd-place HOU…club held a lead of 2-ormore games in the division for 14-consecutive days (5/7-21) which was snapped after Monday’s loss at PIT…TEX has had sole possession of 1st place in the West for 18 straight, 25 of 26, and 38 of the last 40 days beg. 4/14…season-best +4.0-G lead on 5/14 was largest since end of 2016 (+9.0 GA), just 6th season in TEX history to have a lead of 4.0+ G in the West as early as 5/14…TEX has been alone or tied atop the division for 53 of the season’s first 54 days (exception: 4/8).

SERIES STUFF: Club has gone 5-1-1 in last 7 series and 9-2-1 in last 12…team is 10-4-1 overall in series this year, going 6-2-1 at home 4-2-0 on the road…club did not win a 10th series in 2022 until 7/8-10 vs. MIN…TEX won 4 straight series 4/10-23, longest such span since going 5-0-0 from 6/15- 7/1/18…team has won all games of a series 3 times during this campaign (3-0, 3/30-4/2 vs. PHI; 3-0, 4/17-19 at KC; 3-0, 5/19-21 vs. COL)…club is 5-2-0 in last 7 series on the road.

LONG ROAD: TEX is 1-1 in the 1st 2 games of a 9-G, 10-day road trip that takes the team thru the end of May…marks the Rangers’ 2nd-consecutive 3-city road trip (7-3 from 5/5-14 at LAA/SEA/OAK), and the 2nd of a trio of 3-city trips in 2023 (also 8/21-30 at ARI/MIN/NYM)…club has won 3 straight road series for 1st time since 6/9-25/17 at WAS/HOU/NYY… team has won 5 of 7 and 8 of 11 on road after a season-long 4-G away losing skid…club is 14-10 (.583) on road, 3rd-best away win pct. in A.L., 5th in MLB…TEX’s lone time being swept in ’23 came on a 3-day trip to CIN from 4/24-26.

VS. PITTSBURGH: The Rangers are 14-10 all-time vs. Pittsburgh, including a 6-4 record at PNC Park…only previous visits to Pittsburgh came in 2002, 2007 and 2019…TEX was 10-2 in 1st 12 meetings (winning 1st 6-consecutive matchups), but are 4-8 vs. Pirates since 2013.

  • TEX is 10-9 in Interleague play in 2023, winning 5 of last 7 G…team owns a 2-6 record on the road vs. N.L.

EOVALDI GOES THE DISTANCE, AGAIN: Nathan Eovaldi posted his 2nd CG of the season last night (9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R-ER, 1 BB, 5 SO), earning his 6th win of the year, T2ndmost in A.L./MLB…he is the first MLB pitcher with multiple CG in ’23, and has now tossed 2 CG in back-to-back seasons (after no CG in 1st 10 seasons in the Majors)…Eovaldi is the 1st TEX starter with multiple CG in the team’s 1st 48 contests of a season since Martín Pérez had a pair of shutouts in team’s 1st 20 G in 2014…the last TEX RHP with multiple CG so early in a season was Colby Lewis, who had a pair in team’s 1st 41 contests in 2011…Eovaldi over his last 5 starts beg. 4/29: 4-0, 0.86 ERA (4 ER/41.2 IP), 6 BB, 35 SO.

  • Only other pitchers in TEX history with at least 41.2 IP while allowing 4-or-fewer R over a 5-start span are Charlie Hough (Aug./Sept. 1983) and Fergie Jenkins (Aug./Sept. 1974)
  • In last 28 seasons (beg. 1996), the only other TEX starter with so many IP over a 5-G span was Cliff Lee in July/August 2010…last TEX RHP to do it was Kevin Brown in May 1993.
  • Eovaldi has posted quality starts in each of his last 7 outings (beg. 4/18), the longest QS streak by a Ranger since Martín Pérez from 4/23-6/5/22 (9 straight).

BEWARE OF THE BATS: TEX leads MLB w/ 6.40 R/G and 307 R…team has 4+ runs in 12 of last 13 games…club has 4+ R in 35 G this season, T1st in MLB (35-TB)…TEX leads MLB w/ a .287 BA in May, and A.L.-high .808 OPS is tops in the A.L…club’s +111 run differential is now tops in MLB.

  • The 307 runs scored by TEX in ’23 are the 2nd-most over the first 48 G of a season in franchise history (311-1998)… club leads MLB with 12 G of 10+ R and 14 innings of 5+ R.
  • TEX has MLB-high 4 players with 30+ RBI this season (49-García, 39-Semien, 32-Heim, 30-Jung)…club has a homer in 7 straight road games, the longest away run in ’23… team also has 22 HR by players 25-and-younger this season.

COUNT ON SEMIEN: Marcus Semien last night extended his hitting streak to a season high 13 games, which is currently tops in the Majors for active hitting streak…he is 1 G shy of tying for the longest season hit streak by a Ranger in ’23 (also Grossman 4/16-5/6 and Heim 4/30-5/16)…club now owns an MLB-best 4 of the 15 individual hit streaks of 13+ games in Majors in 2023: 4-TEX, 2-HOU.

  • Semien, who currently leads A.L. in fWAR (1st, 2.4), bWAR (T1st, 2.9), has hits in 19 of 20 G in May at .345/.417/.536/.952 (29-84) to along with a 21-G on-base streak…he has also reached base via H/BB in 23-straight road games.

MAKE WAY FOR THE JUNG GENERATION: Josh Jung, riding a 7-G hitting streak, launched his 11th HR of the season, which leads all MLB rookies…extends his record for HR as a third baseman by a TEX rookie (prev. 8, 3x, last Fernando Tatis in ‘97)…1st time in career that Jung has HR in 3-straight (tied with Garcίa and Semien for longest HR streak by a Ranger in ’23)…it is the longest HR streak by a TEX rookie since Jonah Heim homered in 3 straight G from 7/30-8/1/21… also the T2nd-longest HR streak by a 3B in club history, trailing only a 4-G run by Adrián Beltré from 9/23-27/11

BALK THIS WAY: TEX scored 2 of their R last night via balks (Seager, 1st inning off Hill; Jung, 7th inning off Hernandez)… Elias Sports Bureau confirms that it is the 2nd time in TEX/ WAS franchise history that the club has scored on multiple balks with a runner on 3rd base in the same game…the only other instance? Sept. 30, 1988 at SEA…catcher for the Mariners in that game? our television color analyst, Dave Valle… at 3B for TEX? our Rangers Live! host, Steve Buechele

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER – #54 Martín Pérez, LHP
(5-1, 4.01)
TODAY: The 32-year-old left-hander is scheduled to make his 10th start of the season in today’s series finale against Pittsburgh at PNC Park…produced his 1st ultra-quality start (7.0+ IP, 2-or-fewer ER) of the campaign in his last outing on Fri. vs. COL (W, 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R-ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 104 pitches/72 strikes)…opponents have batted .303/.346/.478/.823 (61-201) this season, the tied for highest opp. BA allowed among qualified MLB pitchers (also KC’s Brady Singer)…has already allowed 8 HR (1.46 HR/9) this season after permitting just 11 HR (0.50 HR/9) in all of 2022…is still undefeated (4-0) in his last 7 starts following his lone defeat of 2023 on 4/8 at CHC (L, 5.0 IP, 3 R-2 ER)…made 2 starts for Venezuela in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, posting no record and a 9.82 ERA (4 ER/3.2 IP)…after returning to the Rangers on a one-year free agent deal for 2022, he elected to stay with Texas in 2023 on a one-year deal after accepting the club’s qualifying offer in November…spent the first 11 seasons of his professional career with the Rangers (2008-18), and has been with the organization for 12 of his 15 years as a pro…left the club for 3 years for brief stints with Minnesota (2019) and Boston (2020-21)…since 2016, his first full campaign after returning from ‘Tommy John’ surgery, has the 2nd-most starts (184) and 2nd-most innings pitched (1056.0) of any pitcher in the American League…saw two seasons cut short in 2014-15 following ‘Tommy John’ ligament reconstruction surgery on his left elbow on 5/19/14…Texas has gone 6-3 in his 9 starts this season.

LAST START: In his last start on Friday vs. COL, logged season highs in both innings (7.0) and pitches (104), producing his 1st ultra-quality start (7.0+ IP, 2-or-fewer ER) of the campaign (W, 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R-ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 104 pitches/72 strikes)…earned the win to improve to 5-1 on the season, as his 5 victories rank 2nd on the team (6-Nathan Eovaldi)…marked his 60th career win as a Ranger, as he is just the 11th pitcher (4th left-hander) to reach that plateau with the club…the other lefties on the list? Kenny Rogers (133), Derek Holland (62), and Darren Oliver (60)…the outing was just the 2nd of Pérez’s career in which he logged 7.0+ IP and 7+ strikeouts without issuing a walk (also 7.0 IP, 8 SO, 0 BB on 5/18/17 vs. PHI w/ TEX)

FOREVER RANGER: Has a 60-58 record with a 4.26 ERA over 182 games/169 starts in his Rangers career, ranking among club’s all-time leaders in starts (7th), innings (10th, 1007.0), wins (T10th), and strikeouts (12th, 669)…needs 2.0 IP to surpass Rick Helling for 9th on TEX all-time list and 7.0 IP for 8th place above Jose Guzman..the only other left-handed hurler on that list? Kenny Rogers (1909.0 IP).

  • Since returning to Texas prior to the start of the 2022 campaign, Pérez has gone 17-9, 3.11 ERA (85 ER/245.2 IP) in 41 G/GS…ranks among qualified A.L. pitchers over that span in quality starts (5th, 26), innings (5th), HR/9 (5th, 0.70), starts (T5th), ground ball pct. (7th, 48.7%) and wins (T7th).

VS. PITTSBURGH / INTERLEAGUE: Pérez has gone 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA (6 ER/11.0 IP) in 2 career appearances/starts vs. PIT…today will mark his 1st-career start at PNC Park…has not faced the Pirates in almost 7 years… his last start against them being a 6-2 victory at Globe Life Park (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R-ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 SO, 98 pitches/65 strikes), with Andrew McCutchen the last Pirate remaining from that lineup…is 0-1, 1.59 ERA (2 ER/11.1 IP) in 2 starts against N.L. Central foes in ’23 (4/8 at CHC and 4/25 at CIN) • Pérez, who has spent his entire 12-year MLB career in the American League, owns a lifetime 14-13 record and 3.96 ERA (104 ER/236.1 IP) across 44 games/39 starts in Interleague play…over the last 2 seasons (beg. 2022), he is 5-2, 1.84 (11 ER/53.2 IP) in 9 starts vs. National League foes.

ON THE ROAD: 6 of Pérez’s 9 starts this season have come away from Arlington, and he is 2-1, 5.28 ERA (18 ER/30.2 IP) on the road in 2023…6 road starts are tied for most among Rangers (also Eovaldi) and rank T2nd in MLB behind only CLE’s Shane Bieber (7)…all 8 HR allowed this season have come in road outings, as opponents have batted .303/.346/.478/.823 (61- 201) in his away starts vs. .288/.325/.370/.695 (21-73) at Globe Life Field. 2023: Opponents have batted .303/.346/.478/.823 (61-201) with 18 extra-base hits (8 HR, 3B, 9 2B), incl. opp. BA’s of .400 (14-35) vs. LHB and .283 (47-166) vs. RHB…TEX has scored 6+ runs in of 8 of Pérez’s 9 starts, as his 10.22 run support average (RSA) ranks highest among qualified ML pitchers (2nd is ATL’s Charlie Morton with an 8.08 RSA)…opp. BA by time thru the order: 1st (.219, 16-73), 2nd (.347, 26-75) and 3rd (.365, 19-52)… Jonah Heim has caught all 9 of Pérez’s starts.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES NOTES:

THE PIRATES: Lost 6-1 in the second game of their three-game series last night against the Rangers…Are 2-3 heading into the finale of their current six-game homestand against Arizona and Texas…Won seven straight games from 4/17-23, their longest winning streak since 2018 (11 games)…Are 1.0 game behind the front-running Brewers in the National League Central coming into today.

LEADING THINGS OFF: Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-3 with a double, walk and run scored last night while batting out of the leadoff spot…McCutchen is now hitting .357 (10-for-28) with a double, four runs scored and .419 on-base percentage in seven games out of the leadoff spot this season.

GETTING ON: Andrew McCutchen comes into today with a 13-game on-base streak, going 16-for-45 (.356) with a home run, four RBI, eight walks and .453 on-base percentage…McCutchen’s 13-game on-base streak is tied for the third-longest by a Pirate this season (it’s also tied for the seventh-longest active streak in the National League)…Jack Suwinski has the longest on-base streak by a Pirate this season (17 games from April 9-29).

GO WEST YOUNG BUCS: Following today’s game, the Pirates will depart for a six-game road trip to Seattle and San Francisco that gets underway Friday night..It will be Pittsburgh’s fourth series ever in Seattle and first since 2016…The Pirates are 4-3 all-time at T-Mobile Park.

ABOUT TODAY’S STARTER: Johan Oviedo gets the start this afternoon in the finale of this three-game series and six-game homestand against the Diamondbacks and Rangers…Oviedo began the homestand Friday night by allowing one run in 6.0 innings while winning a 13-3 decision against Arizona’s Zac Gallen.

MORE ABOUT JOHAN: Johan Oviedo has allowed a combined two runs in 11.0 innings in his last two starts…Oviedo has worked at least 5.0 innings while allowing one earned run or fewer in five of his nine starts this season…Oviedo’s average of 0.75 home runs allowed per 9.0 innings ranks ninth in the National League (teammate Mitch Keller ranks eighth with an average of 0.72 home runs allowed per 9.0 innings).

AND THE WHIFF: Rich Hill struck out nine batters last night, giving Pittsburgh’s starting rotation 249 for the season…That’s the third-most strikeouts in the National League and tied for the 11th-most in MLB coming into today…The only National League starting rotations to record more strikeouts are the Braves (271) and Marlins (267).

LOVING LEFTIES: The Pirates have gone 8-4 in games started by opposing lefthanders this season…Pittsburgh’s last game against a left-handed starter came last Wednesday in Detroit against Eduardo Rodriguez, who allowed four runs in 5.0 innings against the Pirates…Pittsburgh ranks seventh in MLB in OPS (.792) and eighth in slugging (.445) and batting (.274) against southpaws.

MAKE THAT A DOUBLE: Bryan Reynolds delivered a run-scoring double in the third inning Tuesday for his 16th of the season…Reynolds is tied for the second-most doubles among all National League players (Freddie Freeman leads with 18)…Pittsburgh’s 93 doubles as a team are tied for the fourth-most in the National League.

RUN PIRATES RUN: The Pirates come into today tied for the Major League lead in stolen bases (53) along with the Tampa Bay Rays…Monday night was the seventh time this season Pittsburgh swiped at least three bags in a game (the team had a season-high six stolen bases on April 26 against the Dodgers).

CALL TO THE PEN: Colin Holderman has not allowed a run in his last six appearances (5.1ip) since being charged with
the only loss of his big league career when he allowed three runs in 1.0 inning against the Dodgers on April 25…Holderman
has struck out 10 batters in 4.1 innings of relief this month while allowing three hits in 16 at-bats.

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER – 24 – RHP JOHAN OVIEDO
JOHAN OVIEDO: The 25-year-old righthander is making his 10th start today…Allowed one run in 6.0 innings while winning a 13-3 decision against Arizona’s Zac Gallen in his last start Friday.

vs. TEXAS: Has never faced the Rangers.

Wager-Tracker: All Sports Betting Log

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