Following a four-game home series that saw Texas fire its manager and front-office boss, the Rangers were looking forward to hitting the road for a six-game trip that begins Friday night in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Twins.
Ranger manager Chris Woodward was ousted before the series opener against the Oakland A’s on Monday, and longtime president of baseball operations Jon Daniels shown the door two days later.
The flight north was made even sweeter when the Rangers earned a split of their chaotic series with the A’s, rolling to a 10-3 victory on Thursday afternoon. Nathaniel Lowe hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to help break the game open, and recently acquired Mark Mathias added a solo shot for the Rangers.
“Today was fun,” interim manager Tony Beasley said after improving to 2-2 since replacing Woodward. “I think the whole day was a much more relaxed atmosphere.”
The Rangers had managed just five runs and were 4-for-22 with runners in scoring position in the first three games against the A’s. They broke out Thursday for 10 runs on 10 hits and were 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
“Everybody’s in a spot where there’s so much going on,” Lowe said. “There are human beings behind the faces you see on the field. To be able to kind of clear it out, have a good flight, get on the road, have a long series where we can hopefully get some more W’s is going to be good for the team. We’ve just got to keep getting better moving forward.”
Left-hander Martin Perez (9-3, 2.79 ERA) will start the opener of the four-game series with Minnesota. The Rangers end the trip with two games at Colorado.
Perez is no stranger to Target Field, as he went 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA for the Twins in 2019. However, he is 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA in nine career appearances (six starts) against the Twins.
He came away with a no-decision on July 9 against Minnesota in Texas when he allowed six runs, including a three-run homer by Jose Miranda and a two-run shot by Gary Sanchez, on seven hits over six innings of a 9-7 Rangers win.
Minnesota, which swept a three-game series with Kansas City to begin a seven-game homestand, had Thursday off but still got a win off the field. An MRI revealed that starting pitcher Tyler Mahle had no structural damage to his throwing shoulder and is day-to-day with “general soreness and fatigue.”
Mahle, a key trade deadline acquisition from the Cincinnati Reds, departed Minnesota’s 4-0 win over the Royals on Wednesday after throwing 2 1/3 hitless innings. The Twins were concerned that Mahle, who averages 94.3 mph with his fastball, was regularly hitting the 88-89 mph range on Wednesday.
He previously had an MRI on the shoulder in July in Cincinnati that showed irritation and inflammation.
“Mahle’s been battling his shoulder for a couple starts,” said Minnesota reliever Emilio Pagan, who picked up the Wednesday win with two scoreless innings. “He’s a warrior. I think he wanted to stay in the game, but it’s probably best for our team to get him out and stay ahead of it and make sure he gets enough rest and some treatment moving forward.”
Veteran right-hander Dylan Bundy (6-5, 4.76 ERA) will start Friday’s opener for the Twins.
Bundy is 7-2 with a 3.45 ERA in 12 career games (10 starts) against the Rangers. He won his only start against them this season on July 10 in Arlington, Texas, when he yielded four runs on six hits over five innings.