The Texas Rangers are 10-17 for the month of July, bringing them to 46-56 for the season. And that is worrisome.
In the month of July, the Rangers dropped two out of three from the Mets in New York, were swept in three games by the Orioles in Baltimore, took two out of three from the Minnesota Twins at home, took two out of three from the Oakland Athletics at home, were swept by the Seattle Mariners at home, won a single one-off game against the Marlins in Miami, lost two out of three against the Athletics in Oakland, were again swept by the Mariners in Seattle and took three out of four against the Angels in Anaheim — three series victories and four series losses including three sweeps.
If anything, the Rangers are slouching back into old bad habits. On the Rangers’ post-All Star game road trip, they blew four leads in 10 games, rather uncharacteristic for the new-look Rangers, whose bullpen has been one of its brightest spots this season.
The last month has been plagued by a litany of pop-ups, strikeouts, getting on base with two outs, not being able to move runners in scoring position and the bats coming to life in the bottom of the ninth when it feels a little too late. Same as last year and the year before.
If the Rangers have new players, new coaches, a new park and a new direction by the front office, then why are the Rangers falling victim to old habits? What is the sole common factor between this season and the previous three seasons of mediocrity? Food for thought.
Player(s) of the Month: Corey Seager and Leody Taveras
For the majority of the 2022 season, the Rangers haven’t really had that "dangerous" hitter à la Jose Altuve or Julio Rodriguez, but for the month of July, Corey Seger became that person for the Rangers, with eight homers across the month of July, five of which came in consecutive games. For the month, Seager led the team in OPS with 1.041 and a .318 average, trailing only Leody Taveras in the latter stat.
Speaking of Leody Taveras, the outfielder rejoined the active roster in mid-June after Eli White suffered a fractured wrist and has done nothing but excel in the big leagues. In the month of July, Taveras batted .341 with two home runs, a .971 OPS, and 10 doubles in that span. Given his previous struggles at the big-league level, it’s a welcome to know it seems like he’s found his stride.
Obviously, there was a tremendous amount of buzz about where superhuman outfielder Juan Soto was going after he declined a $440 million contract offered to him by the Washington Nationals, but that was all put to bed when it was announced he and first baseman Josh Bell would be heading to the San Diego Padres in exchange for a small army of prospects.
The Rangers only traded one piece: longtime relief pitcher Matt Bush, who was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for lefty pitcher Antoine Kelly and infielder Mark Mathias. Despite Bush’s extraordinary comeback story and general dependability, the two-for-one deal is likely to benefit the Rangers in the long run. Kelly is being sent to Double-A immediately, while Mathias will be sent to Triple-A Round Rock.
We Would Have Gotten Away With It Too, If It Hadn’t Been for Those Meddling Mariners
The Angels' losing streak may have begun with the Rangers, but the Mariners winning streak ran through Arlington like a moonstruck Sherman moving through Georgia on his march to the sea. And it’s all because of Julio Rodriguez, the newest Mariner to strike fear in the hearts of Rangers pitchers since the retirement of Kyle Seager. The Rangers chase for .500 seems to have ended with six straight losses at the hands of the Mariners, so with the bipolar floundering of the Angels and the sudden resurgence of the Mariners, the battle for the AL West is bound to be a good one in the coming years, if the Rangers can kick those old habits. With the Rangers’ remaining schedule peppered with a slew of games against the Astros and Mariners, the Rangers must take advantage of those games against the Tigers, Athletics, Rockies and Twins. Otherwise, we’re in trouble.