What 19 games in 19 days reveals about the 2021 Texas Rangers

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Over the past 19 days the Texas Rangers played 19 games without a day off, one short of the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

They’ve played every day since April 22.

They will finally rest Wednesday, ahead of playing on 11 consecutive days.

Their long stretch came to an end Tuesday at San Francisco’s Oracle Park with a 4-2 loss to the Giants.

The Rangers went 9-10 during the stretch, at times playing their best baseball of the season. If nothing else, they were entertaining in series wins over the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners.

Saturday’s win over the Mariners was thrilling.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys,” right-handed veteran Kyle Gibson said. “We have a group that has a lot of fun, and we have a group that when you’re always in a game, there tends to be a little more adrenaline and a little bit more excitement.”

Monday and Tuesday weren’t good, though, as the bats went flat, the pitching staff walked too many hitters and the defense didn’t make the plays it had been. The Giants won Monday’s game, 3-1.

Right-hander Jordan Lyles allowed two runs Tuesday in a messy first inning before pitching well over the next four innings. A two-out throwing error by Charlie Culberson in the sixth led to two unearned runs.

The bad throw, which should have been scooped by first baseman Nate Lowe, was magnified an inning later as David Dahl connected for a solo homer.

“The 19 games was maybe wearing on us a little bit,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I’m not going to make excuses, and I know Charlie won’t. A tough play for Nate to pick. It’s a play I know Charlie would say he should make 100% of the time.”

The Rangers were scheduled to depart San Francisco on Tuesday night for Houston, where they will spend their off day before opening a four-game series Thursday at Minute Maid Park against the Astros.

Until then, here are five Rangers’ developments during their just completed stretch of 19 consecutive games.

Garcia stays hot

The 28-year-old rookie has taken the American League by storm since debuting April 13. Adolis Garcia entered Tuesday with nine home runs and 26 RBIs, the most by an MLB rookie and the most since his debut four weeks ago.

Garcia hit six of those homers and drove in 18 runs while batting .319 during the 19-game stretch. He was not in the starting lineup Tuesday, his first day off of the stretch. Four players — Lowe, second baseman Nick Solak, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and right fielder Joey Gallo — started all 19 games.

His consistency at the plate after a month in the majors has the Rangers believing more and more that he is going to be a productive long-term player.

Gibson, too

The right-hander has shown time and time again that he is not the pitcher he was Opening Day, when he recorded one out and allowed five runs.

Gibson has posted seven consecutive quality starts, allowing no more than three runs in any outing. The only other Rangers pitcher in history to have seven starts of at least six innings and no more than three runs is Yu Darvish in 2012.

Gibson’s 2.28 ERA is fifth in the AL.

Gallo finds power

Gallo was stuck on one home run on the season when the 19 straight started and was still there after the first four games. But since then, he’s hit five homers in 15 games and he’s collected his first three doubles of the season.

He isn’t walking as much as he did to start the season and is striking out as much as he usually does. He has been more aggressive as teams have started throwing him more pitches around the strike zone rather than put him on base via walks.

Middle infielders flourish

Solak and Kiner-Falefa did it all during the 19-game stretch, including improved defense by Solak and a power surge from Kiner-Fafela.

Both were among the Rangers’ hottest hitters for much of the 19-game stretch. Both homered three times and drove in 10 runs, and they combined to score 25 runs.

Kiner-Falefa, who won the Gold Glove at third base last season, looks to be a candidate at shortstop this season. Solak has been steady at second base after a rough start to the season.

Arihara concerns

The starting rotation endured its first hiccups of the season, outside of Opening Day, during this long stretch, but no pitcher struggled as much as Kohei Arihara.

He posted a 17.28 ERA in three starts, with opponents .400 against him and swatting six home runs in only 8 1/3 innings. Arihara dealt with a blister and bruise in his middle finger after the season start, but an anti-inflammatory shot didn’t fix it.

Arihara is on the injured list at 2-3 with a 6.59 ERA overall after his first seven starts since leaving Japan for the major leagues.

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