Langford keeps trending up as Rangers run wild to win

Rangers swipe four bags in first two innings, capped by García's steal of home

June 9th, 2024

ARLINGTON -- Speed doesn't slump.

For the Rangers, as the offensive inconsistency continues, they need to find a way to manufacture runs. On Sunday, in the series finale against the Giants, they used their wheels to break their skid.

Texas stole four bases in the first two innings at Globe Life Field, propelling the club to a 7-2 win over San Francisco. The Rangers' three stolen bases in the first inning alone were the most in a single frame since June 7, 2022 in the top of the sixth at Cleveland.

It was the most stolen bases in any one game since July 1, 2023 against the Astros (also four) and first time with four or more individual players recording at least one steal since May 25, 2022 at Anaheim. The Rangers entered today having recorded multiple steals in an inning just eight times in the Bruce Bochy era (all in 2023).

Bochy added that stealing more bases and manufacturing runs is something they’ve talked about more and more as a staff as the offensive struggles continued.

“We’ve talked about that,” Bochy said. “We need to be a little bit more aggressive there when we can [steal]. And I mean, we don't want to get reckless but at the same time if we think it's there, we want these guys to go for it. What a good job they did early in a game. They had good reads there, good jumps. Really, everybody's started going and it worked out well for us.”

The most electric of those stolen bases came in the top of the first inning, after rookie delivered a two-out single up the middle with a 102.9 mph exit velocity. He and then teamed up for a double steal, as Langford took second and García swiped home for the third run and steal of the inning.

“It wasn’t designed, I don’t think,” Langford said. “But with two outs, that’s something most teams are going to do if the opportunity comes.”

“It needs to be part of our game,” Bochy added of stealing bases. “We've talked about it. We met a couple times about it to see if we can push it a little bit. When your offense is not quite what you're used to, sometimes you have to push a little bit and that's why we've been pushing them. It's good to see them go for that today. I think when you have the speed that we have, especially if you look at the back end of the order with Langford, [Ezequiel] Duran, [Travis] Jankowski and Leo [Taveras], they need to be running more.”

Garcia's steal of a home -- the 40th by a Ranger and first since Garcia did it on Sept. 24, 2021 -- was the flashiest display of speed, but Langford’s presence on the basepaths has perhaps been the most important aspect of his game in his young career.

Two innings later, Langford delivered a stand-up triple into the gap, his third of the season.

Langford has the fastest sprint speed among healthy Rangers hitters at 29.7 feet per second. The Major League average on a "competitive" play is 27 feet per second, and 30 feet per second is considered elite.

In his short time with the big league club, Langford’s combination of speed and power has been vital to the Rangers’ offensive success, even as the offense has gone through a roller coaster early in the year.

Langford produced exit velocities of 102.9 mph (single) and 101.5 mph (triple) in the win on Sunday. He’s recorded at least one batted ball with an exit velocity over 100 mph in each of his last six games, per Statcast. His three triples in 2024 are already the most by a Texas rookie in a single season since Nomar Mazara in 2016 (three).

Langford's approach has been even better since he returned to the Rangers' lineup on May 28 after spending three weeks on the injured list with a hamstring strain. At the time of his injury, Langford -- who entered the season among the favorites for AL Rookie of the Year -- was hitting just .224/.295/.293 with one home run, one triple, three doubles and 11 RBIs in 31 games.

Since returning from the injured list, he’s looked more and more like the player the Rangers were expecting coming out of Spring Training. He has hits in three straight games and now has multiple hits in four of his 10 games since returning from the injured list. In seven June games, Langford is slashing .286/.310/.464.

“He’s getting some good swings,” Bochy said. “I think he looks more comfortable and he’s swinging more like we know Wyatt can.”