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The bad outweighs the good as the Texas Rangers’ four-game winning streak ends in Milwaukee

The bad outweighs the good as the Texas Rangers’ four-game winning streak ends in Milwaukee

The bad outweighs the good as the Texas Rangers’ four-game winning streak ends in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE – There was a decent amount of good — not to mention a four-game hitting streak — midway through the Texas Rangers’ series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday at American Family Field.

Emphasis on was it must be as loud as the crisis that canceled it.

The Rangers, in a 6-3 loss to the top-seeded Brewers, blew more than a two-run lead when often-reliable left-hander Jacob Latz allowed four runs to score in great when he allowed two hits – one. of which was a one-run slam — and two walks without an out in the sixth inning to snap Texas’ hitting streak.

A decent amount of good.

A crushing amount of evil.

“It’s a tough thing to lose,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

Latz, who made his 33rd appearance of the season for his 33rd team on Monday, replaced starter Michael Lorenzen in the sixth inning with William Contreras at second base after a double by beginning. He walked left-hander Christian Yelich on nine pitches and was 0-2 off Willy Adames before four straight balls loaded the bases for Rhys Hoskins, who hit a belt-high first-pitch fastball at 399 feet into left field for a grand slam. .

Milwaukee Brewers’ Rhys Hoskins reacts after hitting a grand slam in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Monday, June 24, 2024, in Milwaukee.(Morry Gash/AP)

“He got two hits, couldn’t get the last one there, and the walks hurt him,” Bochy said. “He was so, so good for us. It will happen occasionally, but looking back, the walks hurt him.”

Right-hander Jonathan Hernández — who replaced Latz with two batters after Hoskins’ blast — issued a two-out walk to Blake Perkins, who stole second and scored on Andruw Monasterio’s bloop single to give Milwaukee a three run lead.

Latz, 28, had posted eight straight scoreless appearances before Monday’s meltdown and, according to Baseball Reference, had the second-highest WAR (0.6) of any reliever from Texas. He — among every other pitcher suited for the sixth inning — represented Texas’ best option. He didn’t have it Monday, and because of baseball’s three-batter minimum rule, the Rangers had no choice but to let Latz face Hoskins after back-to-back walks.

Bochy said the three-strikeout rule didn’t cross his mind. Latz, despite his arm, has been better this season against righties like Hoskins (.186 batting average against) than lefties (.222).

“We had our guy there,” Bochy said. “Lefties, righties, he did a great job. No, I don’t think about that.”

It was a bad innings. The next one wasn’t much nicer. Leody Taveras, Josh Smith and Adolis García each worked a bunt off lefty Jared Koenig to load the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh; designated hitter Nathaniel Lowe struck out on three pitches to lose the opportunity. Lowe has just a .656 OPS against left-handed pitching this season.

It spoiled that decently good deal the Rangers had put together over the previous five innings, such as:

A few timely strikes: Before Lowe’s hit, at least. The Rangers line-up – last season at least – could best be described as deep and relentless. Deep in the sense that every member of the batting order, one through nine, was capable of either doing damage or extending an inning so another teammate could. Relentless in the sense that the Rangers offense wasted few opportunities; they finished among the top five hitting teams in the entire league with two outs and runners in scoring position. The combination helped generate more runs scored than any other team in the American League.

The Rangers took their first lead on Monday through this method. Jonah Heim — who was stuck in a 1-for-20 drought — reached base on a single in the fifth inning, then hit no. 9 Leody Taveras walked. Back-to-back homers from pinch hitter Marcus Semien and No. 2 Corey Seager gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead. The Rangers posted a .770 OPS with two strikeouts last season, fourth best in baseball. They entered Monday with just a .647 OPS in those situations, a mark below league average. The resurgence of clutch hitting can help the club’s continued resurgence in offense.

García’s Value: García went 2-for-4 with the Rangers’ first-base hit in the fourth inning and a solo home run — his 14th of the season and first since June 2 — in the sixth to give Texas a 3- 1.

The 31-year-old launched a 97.2 mph slugger from Elvis Peguero for a 104.7 mph, 390-foot blast. He hit just .225 against sinkers going forward and has now recorded a hit in four straight games after an abysmal start in June. His All-Star season in 2023 and reliable production in the heart of Texas’ lineup are as important as anything else; the sample size is small, but it could start to return to last year’s norms.

“He shortened things up, tightened things up there,” Bochy said. “We have to let him go, which he did, he did a great job. It’s always encouraging.”

A magnificent pitching streak: The Rangers’ pitching staff extended its scoreless streak to a career-high 26 innings in Monday’s loss before Milwaukee’s Jackson Chourio singled and eventually scored from third on a wild pitch by Lorenzen in the fifth inning. The scoreless streak was the club’s longest since a 33-inning streak from July 9–16, 2011.

Lorenzen extended his string of reliable starts. The right-hander allowed two runs (one of which scored on Hoskins’ grand slam) on five hits, five strikeouts and no walks in five innings pitched. He’s allowed more than two earned runs just twice since early May, but said after Monday’s game that he’s not at his best.

He converted just 56 of 91 pitches for hits. He threw nine curveballs, all balls. Even his speed dropped slightly.

“It’s hard not to be frustrated with yourself,” Lorenzen said. “Just keep calm, try to make good pitches and don’t look like you don’t have your stuff.”

The Rangers had some good stuff.

They left him somewhere in the fifth inning.

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