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Guardians look to extend winning streak against slumping Rangers

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The road to a 101-61 record starts now

2021 Little League Classic: Los Angeles Angels v Cleveland Indians Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

There’s a reason the Rangers were in a position to draft Jack Leiter second overall in July. To put it nicely, Emmanuel Clase’s former team is in dire straits and things aren’t looking up for them right now.

Sitting at 43-81 and ravaged by a wave of positive COVID-19 cases, it’s been a rough time for the Rangers as of late. Between COVID and more traditional ailments, they have 15 on the injured list, including three starting pitchers and nine on the 60-day IL. They’re a bad team right now, and they were probably going to be one coming into the season, but injuries have made them so, so much worse. Trading Joey Gallo at the deadline didn’t help, either.

Trading Joey Gallo to the Yankees was not only a crime against humanity, but it also stripped the Rangers of their lone great hitter. Of the Gallo-less lineup regulars, only Adolis García and Nate Lowe have wRC+’s over 100 at the moment. Garcia also leads the team in home runs with 27.

Texas has lost five of their last six, but their lone win was a 10-1 blowout of the Red Sox.

The Guardians will be facing a trio of young pitchers in Taylor Hearn, Spencer Howard, and Dane Dunning. Hearn is the oldest of the group at 26 with a birthday next week, and Dunning has the most innings under his belt at 138.1 over two seasons.

Dunning is a sinker-slider pitcher with the occasional changeup and cutter worked in. Guardians batters can expect a heavy dose of his sinker, though, as he throws the 90.3 mph pitch over half the time.

Spencer Howard primarily serves as an opener and has struggled since come over in the deal that sent Kyle Gibson to the Phillies. He has started three games in Texas so far and has allowed eight earned runs in 7.1 innings. Howard’s last outing was a five-run debacle against the Mariners in which he was chased after just two innings.

Weather shouldn’t be an issue today or tomorrow, but some rain could be in the picture of the finale on Thursday. After this series, the Guardians will welcome the Red Sox to Progressive Field to wrap up the homestand.

Team at a glance

  • Record: 43-81 (14th in AL)
  • Runs Scored: 469 (15th in AL)
  • Run Differential: -148 (14th in AL)
  • Last 10: 3-7
  • Slash: .225/.290/.369
  • wOBA: .287 (15th in AL)
  • wRC+: 82 (15th in AL)
  • ERA: 4.70 (11th in AL)
  • SIERA: 4.43 (13th in AL)
  • K-BB%: 12.2% (13th in AL)

Projected starters

Tuesday, Aug. 24, 7:10 p.m. ET: LHP Taylor Hearn vs. Eli Morgan
Wednesday, Aug. 25, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Spencer Howard vs. Zach Plesac
Thursday, Aug. 26, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Dane Dunning vs. TBD (Sam Hentges)

Hot hitters

INF, Andy Ibáñez - Twenty-eight-year-old rookie Andy Ibáñez leads the Rangers with 11 hits over the last week, along with four doubles and a home run. He was a driving force in the Rangers’ 10-1 thumping of the Red Sox, going 3-for-5 and driving in a pair of runs. On the season, though, he’s slashing just .239/.281/.383 for a wRC+ of 81. Maybe he’s turning a corner, maybe it’s a lucky few games.

SS, Isiah Kiner-Falefa - Like everyone else on the Rangers, Isiah Kiner-Falefa is having a down year offensively, but at least he has eight hits in the last week, including another 3-for-5 day against the Red Sox on Saturday.

Roster

Poll

How many games will the Guardians win against the Rangers?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    3
    (36 votes)
  • 48%
    2
    (47 votes)
  • 8%
    1
    (8 votes)
  • 5%
    0
    (5 votes)
96 votes total Vote Now