Scoring and clutch hitting have been scarce for both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers this season.
Finding some offense will be the focus Wednesday afternoon in the final contest of a two-game interleague series between the teams at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Arizona, which was outscored 21-9 while losing three of four games in its season-opening series at San Diego, got an immediate boost from Texas in the Tuesday contest. The D-backs scored three unearned runs with two outs in the first inning on the way to a 4-1 win.
The final run in the opening frame came as David Peralta scorched an RBI single off Rangers’ starter and loser Kyle Gibson. It was the kind of position — producing in the clutch — in which Arizona had struggled in its first four games.
“Maybe we’ve been trying a little bit too hard,” shortstop Nick Ahmed said, according to MLB.com, as the Diamondbacks prepared for Tuesday’s game. “You know guys are going to get their timing, myself included, and the bats are going to wake up, and we’re going to start swinging better.”
Texas, which lost two of three games against Colorado in its first series of the season, didn’t get its first hit Tuesday until the seventh inning. The hit was a one-out solo home run by Rougned Odor off Merrill Kelly, who scattered three hits over 7 2/3 innings on the way to the victory.
This is the first time in club history that the Rangers have scored two runs or fewer in each of the first four games of the season.
“I felt like we got plenty of at-bats in summer camp,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “Things have been a little bit different from what we expect from some of these guys. Obviously, we have to be better offensively to have a chance. I trust our guys to make adjustments, and we have to be better offensively.”
Texas will send Opening Night starter Lance Lynn to the mound for Wednesday’s dustup, which is the finale of a five-game homestand that opened the Rangers’ new ballpark. Lynn (1-0) hurled six scoreless innings against Colorado and struck out nine in the Rangers’ combined 1-0 shutout of the Rockies.
Lynn was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Diamondbacks last season and is 6-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 13 all-time against Arizona.
The Diamondbacks will counter with veteran left-hander Madison Bumgarner (0-1), who look the loss for Arizona on Opening Day against San Diego despite carrying a shutout into the sixth inning in his first start with his new team.
Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million free agent contract with the Diamondbacks in December to be Arizona’s ace. He struck out four and walked three in 5 2/3 innings in last week’s loss to the Padres, after which he was not available for media requests.
Wednesday’s game is the second of four this season between the two teams in the COVID-19-influenced 2020 schedule. The Rangers will visit Phoenix for a two-game set Sept. 22-23.
–Field Level Media