Blowout win wraps first series of new era in Texas

August 18th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Rangers interim manager Tony Beasley described the vibe through the organization over the last week as “numb.”

It’s understandable, considering two of the first four days of Beasley’s tenure as skipper have been chaotic to say the least. It started on Monday with the firing of manager Chris Woodward and then continued on Wednesday with president of baseball operations Jon Daniels following him out the door. 

Now, after three days of non-stop change, Beasley and his team can fully focus on the task at hand: winning baseball games.

"Today is the first day [this week] I feel like myself, to be honest with you," Beasley said prior to Thursday’s 10-3 win over the A’s. “It’s a lot. I’ve been in Wonderland for the last three days. Let's be real about it, I'm human. I would love to sit here and tell you I had everything in order and lined up and planned every solution for every question. That's not the reality of it.

"The reality of it is that it was a surprise to me, everything that's happened the last three days, and I was asked to be in charge and to embrace that. I believe we can. We can move the needle forward.”

A four-game split against the A’s was the first step in tackling a hectic week. Here are three takeaways from the first series of a new era of Texas Rangers baseball:

By and large, it’s still the same team, with the same strengths and weaknesses
The series against the A’s really illustrated exactly who the Rangers are as a team.

There’s the inconsistent offense -- which only scored five runs in the first three games combined before its double-digit effort Thursday -- a young and experienced rotation that currently includes rookie Cole Ragans, and a bullpen that is either lights out or effectively throwing batting practice depending on the night.

Thursday’s victory was a nice bow to end a winning homestand and a chaotic week, starting pitcher Dane Dunning said after going six innings and giving up two runs to earn a quality start. It felt like all phases of the game, from the pitching to the offense to the baserunning, came together for a complete win.

“The players understand that they have to play better,” Beasley added. “They understand that. Can I perform for them? Absolutely not. But hopefully I can get them in a mode where they feel comfortable playing baseball and have fun playing the game of baseball.”

The kids are playing
The $500 million middle infield investments of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien have obviously been the focus of the last week, but a trio of rookies in Josh Smith, Ezequiel Duran and Bubba Thompson is getting as much of a look as anybody over the final stretch of season.

Thompson in particular has set the world and the basepaths on fire since his debut on Aug. 4. The speedy outfielder has gone just 12-for-46 since his call-up, but has four stolen bases and consistently wreaks havoc on opposing defenses and forces errors every time he’s on base.

“It’s pressure, pressure, pressure,” Beasley said. “It speeds everything up. It just opens up for us another opportunity to get free 90s and create more scoring opportunities because of the pressure that he puts on opposing teams.”

Another rookie in top prospect Josh Jung could join the fold soon, if he continues to rake in Triple-A. The third baseman, who is MLB Pipeline's No. 39 overall prospect, suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder and missed most of the Minor League season. But since his return, he’s gone 12-for-29 at Round Rock with five homers and 15 RBIs.

“We’ve had some discussions,” Beasley said. “I really just want to make sure that he gets the number of reps that he needs and evaluate over time. There’s really no need to just rush him up here because he got off to a hot start.”

It’s a work in progress
Things won’t change overnight, or even after four days. There might be a new manager and slightly new routines, according to Beasley, but nothing will come immediately.

With 44 games left, Rangers owner Ray Davis said he hopes to build some momentum heading into 2023 with the changes that were made.

“I can't define it on wins and losses right now. I would love to, just can't because I don't think that's realistic,” Beasley said. “I don’t think anybody thinks that just because you change a couple names that L's will turn into W's. It’s way deeper than that. We have stuff that we have to get better at, all of us, staff included.”