Bring back the Astros.
After their best series of the year against Houston, the Rangers return flight to reality landed in Tampa Bay.
The Rays had been one of the two teams in the American League worse than the Rangers. But last night Tampa Bay had a secret weapon: Martin Perez was throwing baseballs at them.
He lasted four innings. He gave up eight runs on the back of ten hits, four walks and two home runs.
It was the kind of game that reminds you why Martin Perez has a losing record in his career and an ERA of 4.52. It was the kind of performance that reminds you why Martin Perez is stuck at the corner of Mediocrity and Disappointment.
He gave up runs every inning he was in the game. One in the first, four in the second, another one in the third, two more in the fourth.
Once he left the game, so did the Rays scoring opportunities.
Jurickson Profar let the game as well. And once he left, so did any illusions that the Rangers had any kind of farm system.
In the second inning, he took a hard spill onto his face when he stayed too long in the way of an attempted double play.
He was forced out due to the concussion protocol. Which left the Rangers with having to pull Drew Robinson in from center to play shortstop.
Suddenly, the Rangers anemic minor league system was laid at their doorstep. It was bad enough losing Elvis Andrus, but losing his backup meant going to Plan C for a team that really had no Plan B.
So it was Robinson at short. Isiah Kiner-Falefa at second. Carlos Tocci in center. And freshly-picked-up-off-the-scrap-heap Renato Nuñez in left. It speaks loud and clear to the lack of talent in the system that nobody else could play left field. Not even a guy named Willie Calhoun? The Rangers had to pick up a Ryan Rua facsimile. A copy of an original that is’t all that good to begin with.
So one of the weakest lineups in Texas Rangers history snapped a two-game winning streak.
They get another try tonight.
Good thing for the Rangers, Martin Perez has to wait five more days for his next try.
Matt Moore (0-3, 8.76) vs. Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 0.00)
Game time: 6:10
The Rangers have never faced Chirinos.
How the Rays hit against Moore.