Friday Newsletter time: Texas Rangers won't see Houston Astros until 2022, but results won't be much different
The rosters will look different, but Houston should still have a big edge in talent and experience.
The next time the Texas Rangers are scheduled to face the Houston Astros is next season, April 25 to be exact.
Both teams could look vastly different, with free agency expected to shake up each team’s roster. The Rangers have announced their intention to be players in the hot-stove league, and the Astros have some decisions to make on their own free agents.
The Astros will very likely still be the better team no matter how the offseason pans out. That’s how far they have moved ahead of the Rangers, who were blown out again Thursday night by Houston. This time it was 12-1, dropping the Rangers to 5-14 this season vs. their in-state rivals.
Glenn Otto’s magic against the Astros vanished in the fourth inning, when he allowed seven runs and recorded one out. He opened with three scoreless innings, and tossed five shutout frames against them last month in his MLB debut.
“I need to try to keep them hitting my pitches as much as possible, and the execution on that front wasn’t as sharp,” Otto said. “Fastball command is what really bit me tonight, falling behind and just trying to be too fine on the edges. That’s where things started to spin a little bit.”
Manager Chris Woodward didn’t want to compare the 2021 Rangers to the 2021 Astros. He knows it’s a no-contest. The Astros have far more experience and talent, though Woodward said that will change next season.
He’s right. These Rangers players are going to be more experienced. There should be more talent via offseason acquisitions and players rising through the system to the major leagues. Josh Jung, for instance, should be the Opening Day third baseman.
But it’s hard to imagine the Rangers making significant gains on the Astros.
“They have a lot of guys with a lot experience,” Woodward said. “It’s hard for me to compare it against a team like that. Our job this year is to get these guys the most out of what they’re getting this year, teach them how to be big-leaguers, grind through what we’ve had to go through this year.”
The Rangers have been overmatched and outclassed much of the season. The Astros humbled Otto and fellow rookie right-hander A.J. Alexy in this series. The Houston pitching staff shut down the Rangers’ offense in three of the four games this week.
Houston is the team the Rangers are trying to overtake by emulating the Astros’ rebuild last decade. The Rangers could lose 100 games, but they aren’t going to lose 111 as the 2013 Astros did.
The Rangers will still be rebuilding in 2022, but more pieces are going to fall into place. The end of next season might be a better time for Woodward to compare the franchises that have essentially traded places in less than 10 years’ time.
It’s no-contest this season.
T.R.’s Memoirs: A-Rod signing
The latest installment of T.R.’s Memoirs hit the World Wide Web on Thursday morning. T.R. Sullivan rehashed the Rangers’ courtship of Alex Rodriguez in 2000 that ended with them signing the future MVP to a staggering $252 million deal.
T.R. was working for the Star-Telegram, and I was a copy editor. I remember the designers working on a headline, which ended up being “$250,000,000” with the numbers made by little baseballs.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today earlier this year said that might have been the last big breaking baseball story before the proliferation of the Internet, when breaking news might last a minute before it is confirmed by someone else.
The A-Rod story broke at when it hit people’s driveway.
The news conference introducing Rodriguez came on the day of an ice storm, as T.R. wrote. I remember trying to race out from the downtown office to get dinner before the storm hit, and I wanted to get my pickup off the streets to avoid someone sliding into hit.
I went to Domino’s to order a pie, and they offered me one that had already been made — a large pepperoni and bacon for $5. Man, it was good.
Yes, I ate the whole thing.
Card of the Week
Roberto Clemente Day across the majors came and went Wednesday. Anyone who doesn’t know about Clemente, the ballplayer and the humanitarian, needs to take the time to learn about him.
For this week’s Card of the Week, I pulled out his 1973 Topps, No. 50.
It’s definitely not his rookie card, nor is it all that valuable. However, it is his last card, released after he died Dec. 31, 1972, in a plane crash in Puerto Rico as he sought to deliver supplies to Nicaragua as it recovered from an earthquake.
He was 38.
The back of the card lists the stats from each of his 18 big-league season and his 1954 season with the Montreal Royals of the International League. He finished his career with 3,000 hits.
But there’s so much more to Clemente.
Dig into your weekend like this good doggy. Enjoy. See you Monday.