Saturday, June 22, 2024
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MLB Preview: Texas Rangers (82-64) at Cleveland Guardians (69-78)

TEXAS RANGERS NOTES:

WINS AND LOSSES: Texas beat Toronto last night, 9-2, to complete their first 4-G sweep of the season, as they continue on this 7-G, 7-day road trip through TOR (4-0) and CLE (3 G)…team is riding a 6-G winning streak, longest since a season high 8-G streak to begin August (8/1-8)…6 straight wins come after snapping a 4-G losing skid on Sat…club is 7-4 in last 11 G and 7-7 in last 14 G after winning 3 of previous 4 contests from 8/26-29…club is 10-16 (.385) in last 26 G beg. 8/16, 5th-lowest win pct. in MLB over that span (KC-.269, 7-19; COL-.280, 7-18; CWS-.296, 8-19; LAA-.346, 9-17)…the 10-16 span began with a season-long 8-G losing streak from 8/16-25, 2nd-longest for Texas since start of ’22 (0-9, 8/27-9/5/22)…club has 82 wins, most since 2016 (95 wins), and a 14-win improvement over 2022 (68)…team has dropped 17 of 29 and is 14-18 since a season-best 8-G win streak (8/1-8), longest for club since going 10-0, 5/9-19/17… have gone 24-25 in last 49 G since a 6-G win streak (7/14-19) out of the break…team is 30-25 (.545) in the 2nd “half”, 6thbest record in the A.L…TEX is 31-27 in last 58 G, 32-31 in last 63 G, and 33-33 in last 66 G…team was also 12-19 over a 31-G span from 6/7-7/9 to end the 1st “half”. At 82-64 (.562), TEX has the 4th-best record in the A.L., T6th-best in MLB…82 wins rank 4th in A.L./T6th in MLB. The 82-64 mark is T5th-best 146-G start to a season in Washington/Texas franchise history (beg. 1961), and club’s best 146-G start since 2016 (87-59).

ON THE ROAD: TEX plays TOR (3-0 + 1 G) and CLE (3 G) during this 7-day, 7-game trip…team has won 6 of 8, but has lost 7 of 13, 11 of 21, 15 of 26, 17 of 29, 19 of 32, and 23 of last 40 away games…TEX has a 37-34 (.521) away record in ’23, 6th in the A.L…club began the year with a 19-11 road record and has gone 18-23 (.439) beg. 5/31.

HOW SWEEP IT IS: With Texas’ 4-G sweep of Toronto from Monday thru yesterday, TEX has won all games of a series of 4 G for the 1st time in last 4 seasons (last 4-0, 9/5-8/19 at BAL)…the Rangers have now taken all games of a series 9 times this season (5 since the All-Star break), as club notched their 2nd undefeated road series of 2023 (also 3-0, 4/17-19 at KC)…team did not go undefeated in any road series of 3+ G from 2020-22. TEX took all games of a series against TOR for the first time since 5/25-27/12 vs. TOR, as it was the first sweep of the Blue Jays in a 4-G series since 7/8-11/93 at TOR.

OPS, HE DID IT AGAIN: After going a triple shy of the cycle yesterday (3-for-4, 2B, HR), Corey Seager’s MLB-leading 1.070 OPS figure would be the highest mark ever posted by a qualified Ranger (prev. 1.050 by Rafael Palmeiro in 1999)…4 of the last 6 qualifying A.L. batters to record an OPS of 1.070-or-better in a season have gone on to be named the circuit’s M.V.P. that year, with the lone exception(s) being Mike Trout in 2018 (1.088) and 2017 (1.071)… Seager would also be just the second primary shortstop (min. 80% of games at SS) to tally a qual. OPS figure of 1.070+ a single season, joining PIT’s Arky Vaughan in 1935 (1.098). Seager’s double yesterday made it 40 for the season, as he becomes the 7th Ranger to notch 40+ 2B and 30+ HR in a season (last Josh Hamilton’s 40 2B/32 HR in 2010).

RUN IMPROVEMENT: TEX’s +168 R/D through 146 G this season ranks 2nd in A.L./4th in MLB (ATL: +242; TB: +199; LAD: +173)…club’s R/D is 204 runs better than the club’s -36 R/D in 2022…the 204-run improvement is the largest such mark of any team in baseball in that span ahead of Chicago-NL’s 167-run improvement (-74 in 2022, 93 so far in 2023).

SERIES STUFF: Rangers have won last 2 series (4-0 9/11- 14 at TOR; 2-1 vs. OAK, 9/8-10)…took the series opener on Mon. for the first time in last 4 tries, and their 2nd consecutive win in road series openers (4-2 record in last 6 road series openers)…prior to current 3-5-0 series span, club had a 5-0-0 stretch from 8/1-16 that was 2nd-best streak in 2023 (6-0-0, 5/19-6/7)…team is 27-18-2 overall in series in 2023: 14-8-2 at home; 13-10-0 on the road…TEX holds a 4-2-0 record in last 6 road series dating back to the beginning of August. VS. CLEVELAND: TEX begins a 3-G series tonight against CLE already holding a 3-0 record vs. the ‘Guards this season (took all games of the series at GLF from 7/14-16)…TEX is assured of not losing a 5th straight season series vs. CLE (2017-19, 2021-22), but TEX’s 12-23 (.343) record vs. CLE since start of 2017 is 3rd-worst against any A.L. club over that span (11-26, .297 vs. BOS; 39-79, .331 vs. HOU).

HAVE JON GRAY, WILL TRAVEL: Jon Gray enters tonight’s start with a 3.41 road ERA (26 ER/68.2 IP) in ’23, 6th-lowest among A.L. pitchers (min 65.0 IP)…Gray has allowed one-orzero runs in 5 of last 9 road games, going 4-3, 3.27 ERA (20 ER/55.0 IP) in that span.

TONIGHT’S STARTING PITCHER – #22 Jon Gray, RHP (8-7, 3.96)
TONIGHT: The 31-year-old right-hander is set to make his 27th start of the season in tonight’s series opener in Cleveland…the 2023 Texas Rangers Roberto Clemente Award nominee has gone 2-2, 5.57 ERA (26 ER/42.0 IP) over his last 8 starts to raise his season ERA from 3.31 to 3.96, still 14th-lowest in the A.L… also has a 5.65 ERA (45 ER/71.2 IP) his last 14 starts to rise from 2.32…did not factor into the decision in his 50th start as a Ranger on Sunday vs. OAK (ND, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R-3 ER, 2 BB, 1 HR, 3 SO, 60 pitches/38 strikes)…3.65 pitches per batter faced figure is 2nd-lowest in A.L./5th-lowest in MLB…has struck out 131 of 601 (21.8%) of batters faced in ’23, which would be the 2nd-lowest SO pct. of his career (12.6% in 2020 w/ COL)…this despite a 26.4% swing-and-miss pct. that ranks 10th in A.L…Gray’s ERA by month in 2023: April (3.91), May (1.95), June (3.99), July (5.48), Aug. (4.30), Sept. (7.04)…has combined to go 15-14, 3.96 ERA (120/272.2 IP) with 265 SO (8.7 SO/9) in 50 G/GS across 2 seasons with the Rangers…this is his 2nd season with Texas after signing a 4-year free agent contract with the club on 12/1/21…was hindered by several injuries last season, but still managed to post a 7-7 record, 3.96 ERA (56 ER/127.1 IP), and 134 strikeouts over 24 starts…was the 3rd overall selection by Colorado in the 2013 MLB Draft after pitching 2 seasons at the U. of Oklahoma…is a native of the Oklahoma City area, growing up in Chandler…Texas has gone 15-11 in Gray’s 26 starts this season, winning 3 straight, 5 of 7 and 7 of his last 10 outings.

LAST START: Did not factor into the decision in his 50th start as a Ranger on Sunday vs. OAK (ND, 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R-3 ER, 2 BB, 1 HR, 3 SO, 60 pitches/38 strikes), his 3rd-straight outing with a ND…it marked his 3rd-shortest outing of the season, including his season-low 2.0 IP on 4/15 at HOU, where he exited the game after being hit by a line drive…has allowed 3-or-more ER in 4 straight starts…Texas ended up rallying to win 9-4, despite providing Gray with 3 R in the first inning…exited the game with a 3-4 deficit after allowing all 4 runs in the top of the 3rd inning…his 3 SO were his lowest since 8/16 vs. LAA (4 SO in 7.0 IP). VS. CLEVELAND: Gray will be making his 2nd start of the season against the Guardians tonight (also 7/14 vs. CLE)…did not factor into the decision after tossing 6.0 IP and allowing 4 R-ER on 5 hits…Gray is 0-1, 5.06 ERA lifetime vs. CLE in 3 G/GS, lasting 5.0-or-more innings in all 3 starts…will also make his 2nd career start at Progressive Field, taking the loss in a start on 6/7/22 w/ TEX (L, 5.0, 6 H, 5 R-ER, 4 BB, 1 HB, 3 SO, 97 pitches/61 strikes).

ON THE ROAD: Has seen better results on the road (5-3, 3.41 ERA in 12 GS) than at home (3-4, 4.46 ERA in 14 GS) in 2023…among A.L. pitchers with at least 65.0 IP on the road in 2023, Gray’s 3.41 road ERA (26 ER/68.2 IP) is 6th-lowest in the A.L…has allowed one-or-zero runs in 5 of his last 9 road outings, going 4-3, 3.27 ERA (20 ER/55.0 IP) in that span.

COMPLETE GAME: Was tough-luck loser in start on 6/7 vs. STL, a 1-0 Rangers defeat (CG, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R-ER, 0 BB, 12 SO, 1 HR, 100 pitches/76 strikes)… according to Stathead, it marked just the 2nd time in modern MLB history that a pitcher took the loss despite 9.0+ IP, 12+ SO, 4-or-fewer hits, 1 R allowed, and zero BB…the other instance?: TB’s James Shields on 10/2/12 vs. BAL…the lone run in Gray’s loss to the Cards was a solo HR by Alec Burleson in the 8th inning… it was the 23rd instance of a TEX starter taking a 1-0 loss in a CG, 1st since Matt Harrison on 9/22/12 at SEA…produced 2nd-highest game score of his career (87), trailing only CG SHO on 9/17/16 vs. SD (95 game score).

SCORELESS STREAKS: Has produced 2 of the longest scoreless streaks of his career since the start of May: 20.0 IP (5/26-6/7) and 17.0 IP (5/8-20)…Gray’s loss on 6/7 vs. STL ended spans in which he won a career-best 5 consecutive starts (5/8-6/2) along with a career-high 6-G win streak (4/9-6/2)…Gray was the 1st Ranger to win 5 consecutive starts since Lance Lynn from 6/17-7/11/19… Rangers went 5-0 in his 5 May starts, with Gray going 4-0, 1.95 (7 ER/32.1 IP) over 5 GS in May, 2nd-lowest monthly ERA of his career (min. 4 GS) to only a 1.89 figure over 5 G/GS in July 2016.

2023: Has allowed 3-or-fewer runs in 16 of his 26 starts…opp. BA by time thru the lineup: 1st (.241), 2nd (.276), 3rd (.234), 4th (0-4)…number of GS in ’23 by starting catcher: 16-Heim, 6-León, 3-Garver, 1-Hedges…notched his 50th career start as a Ranger on 9/10 vs. OAK (ND, 2.2 IP, 4 R-3 ER)…Rangers went 5-0 in his 5 May starts, with Gray going 4-0, 1.95 (7 ER/32.1 IP) in 5 GS for the month, 2nd-lowest monthly ERA of his career (min. 4 GS) to only 1.89 over 5 G/GS in July 2016…recorded 1,000th career strikeout on 4/26 at CIN (Spencer Steer)… made early exit in start on 4/15 at HOU (ND, 2.0 IP, 1 R-ER) after he took a liner off his right forearm…earned 1st win on 4/9 at CHC (5.2 IP, 2 R-ER), when Will Smith stranded bases loaded in the 6th inning…began start 5/13 at OAK w/ 6.2 hitless innings before a Jace Peterson 2-out single to RF in the 7th…it was the longest no-hit bid by a TEX starter since 4/15/18 at HOU, when Bartolo Colon retired the first 21 Astros…surpassed 1000.0 career innings during the start (on 2nd out in 6th inn.)…in win on 5/20 vs. COL, escaped a 27-pitch 1st inning in which the Rox loaded the bases with no outs and did not score…was 1st career meeting with the team that drafted him…has suffered a pair of 1-0 losses on solo HR in ’23 (6/7 vs. STL and 6/24 at NYY), joining Yu Darvish (2x in 2013) as the only starting pitchers in TEX history w/ multiple 1-0 losses in a season on a solo HR.

CLEVELAND GUARDIANS NOTES:

GUARDIANS SUCCUMB TO SECOND WALK-OFF IN 3 GAMES
The Cleveland Guardians shouldered their third walk-off loss of the road trip – second in the series against San Francisco – falling to the Giants by a 6-5 final in 10 innings on Wednesday afternoon at Oracle Park…marked their 12th walk-off loss of 2023 – most since 2018 (13)…Guardians finished 2-5 on the 7-game trip thru Los Angeles-AL (1-3) and San Francisco (1-2)…club has gone 14- 13-4 over last 31 series (-2G below .500/48-49 record in that span since May 26). With the help of a 4-run rally in the 1st inning, Cleveland held a 5-1 advantage for much of the contest until momentum swung in the 8th inning on a game-tying 3-run homer by J.D. Davis (18) off ELI MORGAN…San Francisco loaded the bases in the 10th and walked it off on a sac fly to left from LaMonte Wade Jr…LOGAN ALLEN pitched effectively in the no decision (5.0IP, 5H, 1R-ER, 3BB, 5SO, 88 pitches), surrendering his lone run after allowing a trio of singles in the 1st inning after being staked to a 4-0 lead… JOSÉ RAMÍREZ followed STEVEN KWAN’s lead-off walk to start the game with his 23rd homer of the year, a 2-run blast off southpaw Kyle Harrison (4.0IP, 7H, 5R-3ER, BB, 3SO, HR, 82 pitches)…a pair of singles by JOSH NAYLOR and ANDRÉS GIMÉNEZ then set up an infield throwing error to pushed across 2 more Guardians tallies…Naylor also drove home Kwan (single) with an RBI-single in the 2nd inning. With 15 games remaining and the Twins ‘Magic Number’ sitting at 8, Cleveland (69-78) sits in 2nd place in AL Central standings, 8.0 games behind 2nd-place Minnesota (77-70) & 1.5 games ahead of 3rd-place Detroit (-9.5G, 67-79)…Guardians have dropped 8 of 11, 16 of 27, 27 of 44 & 72 of last 132 overall since starting year 9-6.

THE RODEO IS BACK IN TOWN
Tonight’s affair marks the start of a 3-game set between the Guardians and Rangers…Texas swept the first 3-game set this year on July 14-16 in Arlington, beating the Guards 12-4, 2-0 and 6-5… if Texas wins one game in this series, they will emerge victorious in the season series against Cleveland for the first time since going 5-2 in 2016…Texas has not won or tied a series at Progressive Field since winning 2 of 3 from May 30-June 1, 2016…the Guardians have won or tied the season series against the Rangers in 8 of the 9 years they have squared off since Terry Francona took over in 2013…under Francona’s tenure, Cleveland owns a 39-22 (.639) record against the Rangers…marks the Guardians second-best W-L record against any MLB opponent and Texas’ (22-39, .361) second-worst W-L record against any MLB opponent during that span, behind Los Angeles-NL (6-11, .353)…Cleveland trails 338- 351 in the all-time series.

CLEVELAND WIN PCT. VS. OPPONENT SINCE 2013 OPPONENT RECORD WIN %
LAA 42-22 .656
TEX 39-22 .639
CIN 30-18 .625
COL 8-5 .615
MIA 8-5 .615

OH CANADA!
Entering tonight, JOSH NAYLOR (.306, 88 RBI) is currently one of 2 AL hitters and one of 6 MLB hitters with a .305-or-better batting average and 85+ RBI this season, joining TEX’s Corey Seager, ChC’s Cody Bellinger, LAD’s Freddie Freeman & Mookie Betts and ATL’s Ronald Acuna Jr…with a .306 average and 88 RBI in 106 games entering tonight, he is the first Cleveland hitter to produce such numbers through the team’s first 147 games since Michael Brantley in 2014 (.318, 91 RBI, 142 games). » In 18 games since August 19, BO NAYLOR is hitting .346 (18- for-52) with 9 runs scored, 5 doubles, 4 home runs and 10 RBI… during that span, he leads all MLB catchers (min. 60PA) in batting average (.346), on-base percentage (.444), slugging percentage (.673) and OPS (1.118)…he also ranks in extra-base hits (9, T2nd) and doubles (5, 3rd) during that stretch…his .346/.444/.673/1.118 slash line since August 19 ranks 6th in each category among all AL hitters (min. 60PA)…he is hitting .400 (6-for-15) with 4 doubles and a home run off breaking balls and .321 (9-for-28) with 3 home runs off fastballs since August 19…was hitting .122 (5-for-41) off breaking balls and .186 (11-for-59) off fastballs before August 19.

EMMANUEL CLA-SAVE
On Tuesday, EMMANUEL CLASE earned his 40th save of the season, securing him consecutive 40-save seasons while becoming the first-ever Guardians pitcher to record multiple 40- save seasons…the last MLB reliever with consecutive 40-save seasons was BOS’s Kenley Jansen (2016-17) while he was with the Dodgers…with 3 more saves, he will pass his 42 saves from last year and tie Doug Jones (43) for 4th-most saves in a single season in franchise history…his 106 saves with Cleveland are 18 shy of tying Chris Perez (124) for 4th-most in club history…since 2022, his 82 saves and 147 appearances both lead MLB.

KWAN-TUM MECHANICS
STEVEN KWAN ranks among AL hitters this season in singles (115, 1st) and hits (158, T4th)…he also ranks among AL hitters in swing and miss rate (11.3%, 1st) and percentage of swings put in play (48.9%, 2nd)…through 291 career games, Kwan’s 326 hits are 3rd-most by a Cleveland hitter since 1978, behind Sizemore (327) and Lindor (342)…his 245 singles are 4th-most since 1966, behind Lofton (253), Rick Manning (261) and Duane Kuiper (266)…his .285 batting average is the 5th-highest by a Cleveland hitter in the 2000’s (min. 1,000PA) in their first 291 games, behind Cabrera (.287), Travis Hafner (.287), Shin-Soo Choo (.302) and Lindor (.303).
Since his MLB debut in 2022, Kwan ranks among AL hitters in singles (245, 1st), percentage of swings put in play (49.7%, 1st), swing and miss rate (10.2%, 2nd), PA/SO (10.16, 2nd), hits (326, 4th), triples (13, 4th), pitches faced (5,215, 4th) and runs (176, 7th).

TONIGHT’S STARTER – LUCAS GIOLITO RHP
GIOLITO’S MLB CAREER
W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2023 7-13 4.89 29 29 163.2 150 96 89 60 177
Career 60-60 4.42 176 174 993.0 867 517 488 372 1050

GIOLITO AT HOME
W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2023 4-4 3.48 13 13 77.2 57 35 30 22 81
Career 26-36 4.75 89 87 492.1 418 275 260 181 525

TONIGHT’S START
The 6-6, 245-pound right-hander is scheduled to make his third start for Cleveland, second at Progressive Field, the opener of this 3-game set with the Texas Rangers…Giolito has made 29 starts this season, 21 with the Chicago White Sox, 6 with the Los Angeles Angels and two with the Guardians…owns a 7-13 record with a
4.89 ERA (89ER/163.2IP) this season. Looking to snap a streak of 5 straight losses and earn his first win since August 8 against San Francisco while he was with Los
Angeles-AL…it’s the longest such stretch of his career, as he hadn’t lost more than 3 consecutive starts prior. Giolito was a first-round pick (16th overall) by the Washington Nationals in the 2012 MLB Draft…was later traded to Chicago-AL in a trade that sent Adam Eaton to Washington…is making this start on extended 5 days’ rest; is 3-2 with a 3.83 ERA (22ER/51.2IP) in 9 starts this season on extended 5 days’ rest.

LAST TIME OUT
Giolito made his second start as a Guardian on Saturday, in his first outing against his former club, the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium, a 6-2 loss…he took the loss, despite working 7.0 innings, allowing 4 runs (earned) on 4 hits with 3 homes runs allowed, 9 strikeouts and 0 walks…Giolito got into trouble early, giving up a 2-run home run to Logan O’Hoppe in the first frame… he retired the side in order in the 2nd frame before allowing a solo shot from Brett Phillips to lead off the bottom of the 3rd inning… Giolito would surrender a third home run to Matt Thaiss in the 4th frame…he would retire the next 9 hitters he faced, striking out 4, to finish his outing…he has not allowed 3-or-fewer earned runs since August 8 against San Francisco while with Los Angeles-AL, his last win…has allowed 3 home runs in his last 3 starts, the longest such streak of his career.

THE WILD WEST
Giolito has made 5 career starts against the Rangers, owning a 3-1 record with a 3.95 ERA (12ER/27.1IP)…took on Texas on August 15 during his tenure with the Angels, in a 7-3 Los Angeles-AL loss…allowed 4 runs (earned) on 7 hits with one home run allowed, 5 strikeouts and 2 walks in his first career loss against the club…has worked 5.0-or-more innings in each of his outings against the Rangers, allowing 3-or-fewer earned runs in 3 of them. Today will be his 8th start against the AL West this season, sporting a 2-3 record with a 5.05 ERA (23ER/41.0IP)…he has yet to produce a quality start against the division…marks his first home start against the AL West since May 30 against the Angels while he was with Chicago-AL, a 7-3 White Sox victory and one of his two wins against the division this season…the other came in an 11-5 victory at Los Angeles-AL on June 28 while he was with the White Sox…owns an 11-11 record with a 4.88 ERA (94ER/173.1IP) with 12 quality starts in 30 career outings against the AL West.

GRAB SOME PINE
Since the start of 2019, Giolito’s 880 strikeouts rank T4th in MLB with ATL’S Charlie Morton, trailing TEX’s Max Scherzer (918), PHI’s Aaron Nola (968) and NYY’s Gerrit Cole (1,124)…during that stretch, he has 72 outings of 7-or-more strikeouts, behind Nola (80), Scherzer (83) and Cole (96)…per Baseball Savant, since 2019, he has never had a K% below 25%…when striking out 7+ batters, Giolito is 33-21 with a 3.25 ERA (176ER/487.1IP)…with 6-or-fewer punchouts, he’s 27-39 with a 5.55 ERA (312ER/505.2IP).

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