The era of seven-inning doubleheaders might be coming to an end in Major League Baseball, and Rangers manager Chris Woodward thinks that’s for the best.
“I wouldn’t say it’s unfair, but when you’re playing seven-inning games, it’s different,” Woodward said Sunday. “It’s not really a full game. … It does make it a little easier, especially when it comes to pitching, when we have seven innings. I’m not gonna lie to you. I think just for the integrity of the game, I think it’d be better to go back to nine next year.”
Last week, Commissioner Rob Manfred said that seven-inning doubleheaders are not in the league’s “long-term future.”
With so many COVID-19-related postponements in 2020, the shortened games eased the burden on schedulers and pitching staffs to squeeze as many games into the season as possible. Coincidentally, the Rangers were one of the few teams largely unaffected by that last year -- they played just one doubleheader -- and Sunday marks their first twin bill of 2021.
“We needed to do it last year -- obviously, it was so many doubleheaders in the league last year,” Woodward said. “[Texas] didn’t play that many, but I know other teams did. We had to do that, otherwise pitching would’ve been a disaster.”
Rangers agree to under-slot deals with 6th-, 9th-round picks
According to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, the Rangers agreed to terms with a pair of their 2021 MLB Draft selections this weekend: sixth-round right-hander Chase Lee and ninth-round catcher Liam Hicks.
Lee, who started his college career playing for Alabama’s club team, finished with a 1.87 ERA in 82 innings. That’s the lowest ERA by a reliever in Alabama history (minimum 50 innings pitched). His 164th overall slot in the Draft was valued at $312,400, and he agreed to sign for $75,000.
Hicks led the Sun Belt Conference in on-base percentage (.464), reaching safely in 39 of 41 games with Arkansas State this past season. The 22-year-old signed for $30,000, though his 254th overall slot was valued at $161,400.