After what has transpired in their first two games in Seattle, the Texas Rangers sure could use a vintage performance out of left-hander Mike Minor on Sunday afternoon.
Vintage as in 2019-like.
Rangers starters Kolby Allard and Jordan Lyles combined to pitch just 4 2/3 innings over the past two nights as Texas lost 7-4 and 10-1 to the rebuilding Mariners, taxing the bullpen.
Minor, who was an All-Star last season, is scheduled to take the mound in the series finale.
But considering his results thus far this season, there are no guarantees he will come through. Minor is 0-4 with a 6.94 ERA in five starts. The four losses are tied for the most in the major leagues in the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 campaign.
“He needs to get back to where he was at this point last year,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “I think we worry too much about the velo. He needs to get back to pitching off that changeup like he normally does. Once he has that command and he is able to use those pitches, it doesn’t matter if the fastball is 90 or 93, it still gets outs.”
Minor is 4-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 13 career appearances against Seattle, including 10 starts. He pitched four scoreless innings against the Mariners on Aug. 11, allowing one hit while issuing three walks and striking out four.
Woodward called a team meeting after Saturday’s blowout loss, the Rangers’ seventh in a row.
“I said nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” Woodward said. “We’ve got to get ourselves out of this. We’ve got to play better all around.
“I know they’re trying. I know they’re trying to compete, but we’ve got to start coming up with some solutions to this. We’re not going to win too many games. It’s not a good recipe for success.”
The Mariners, who moved out of the American League West cellar with Saturday’s victory, are set to send right-hander Justin Dunn (1-1, 7.80 ERA) to the mound. Dunn got his first career victory against the Rangers on Aug. 10 with six innings of two-run ball, but took a line drive off his ribs in his last start against the Los Angeles Dodgers and was lifted after allowing six runs in two innings.
Rookie first baseman Evan White, who had been out of the lineup since Wednesday after fouling a ball off his left kneecap, was the star Saturday. White, who entered the game batting just .133, homered and drove in six runs.
Outfielder Kyle Lewis, another rookie, went 3-for-3 to raise his batting average to .373, second in the American League to the New York Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu (.411), who is currently on the 10-day injured list with a sprained thumb.
“We need to continue to have a few more of these nights,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It really helps the confidence of these young guys. We are learning, and we are growing. It’s fun when guys go out and play like this.”
–Field Level Media