San Diego right-hander Tyson Ross struggled through a forgettable stint as a member of the Texas Rangers last season but is enjoying a rejuvenation this year with the Padres.
Ross said he won’t bring any bad feelings with him to the mound when the two teams square off in the middle contest of the three-game
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, interleague set on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Texas took the opening game of the series 7-4 on Monday as Shin-Soo Choo had three hits and drove in one of the Rangers’ five runs in the pivotal sixth inning. The victory was Texas’ eighth in its past nine games.
Ross (5-5, 3.34 ERA) will try to help San Diego even the set while the Rangers will counter with right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 4.5.
Ross had surgery prior to the 2017 campaign to address thoracic outlet syndrome and made only 12 appearances for Texas before he was released in mid-September after posting a 7.71 ERA.
“I’d probably have struggled no matter where I was last year, just being five, six months out of surgery and picking up a baseball again,” Ross told MLB.com. “It was a lot of ups and downs in that year with Texas. But I think it was growing pains, and I was going to go through it no matter where I was, really.”
Ross will make his 16th start of the season. The Padres have won six of his past eight starts and are 10-5 overall when he takes the mound.
Ross was the losing pitcher on June 21 at San Francisco in his most recent outing despite tossing seven innings in which he allowed just one run. He received zero run support for the second consecutive outing and has worked five or more innings in 14 of his 15 starts, including nine quality outings.
Prior to Monday’s win, Texas manager Jeff Banister was campaigning for a spot for Choo in this year’s All-Star Game. Choo has never played in the midseason classic in his 14-year major league career.
Choo reached base for the 38th straight game, which is a career-high, with the first of his three hits on Monday.
“With how things have gone for us on a day-to-day basis, and what he’s done, I believe that Choo should be recognized as a guy that should have an opportunity to be an All-Star,” Banister opined. “Choo’s an on-base guy first, and when he’s doing that, he’s seeing pitches. He’s focused more on driving the ball that he gets to hit. He’s really good at it
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, and it keeps him from chasing balls out of the zone.”
Bibens-Dirkx will take the bump for his fourth start of the season and will be working on extended five days’ rest after earning his first win of the year in the Rangers’ 3-2 victory on Wednesday at Kansas City. He was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock prior to that start for his second stint with Texas in 2018.
Bibens-Dirkx is the second Texas starter to win without a strikeout since the start of 2012 (also Colby Lewis, April 29, 2016, vs. Los Angeles), and is the first to do it on the road since Tommy Hunter on Aug. 22, 2010, at Baltimore.
Bibens-Dirkx’ unique outing last Wednesday is also the only quality start without a strikeout in MLB this season. He has never faced the Padres.
HOUSTON — The Houston Astros enjoyed their share of luck and made some of their own during their 12-game winning streak, but on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays, they tasted regression.
Well, at least right fielder George Springer did. Already mired in a miserable slump dating back one month, Springer had a potential game-tying, three-run home run snagged by Toronto right fielder Randal Grichuk with no outs in the ninth inning of the Astros’ 6-3 loss. Grichuk shifted from center field to right in the ninth to make way for standout defender Kevin Pillar.
Instead of pulling the Astros even at 6-all, Springer finished 0-for-5 with a strikeout and three runners stranded. He entered the series with a .196/.322/.353 slash line since May 26, the first game after he improved his OPS to .894 with a robust .305/.367/.527 line through 50 games.
“It sucks,” Springer said. “There’s not really anything else to say about it. It’s tough. It is what it is. They win.”
Despite opening Monday tied with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for the best record in the majors, the Astros (52-2 have been a bit unlucky in close, low-scoring games. While their pitching staff has performed splendidly in the first half of the season, the Astros are just 8-14 in one-run games and dropped to 7-19 when scoring three or fewer runs. Houston has run roughshod over opponents on the road
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, but the loss to Toronto dropped the Astros to a modest 23-17 at home.
“Baseball can be pretty cruel,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “That’s a tough one. Right off the bat, I thought George got one. It carried and carried and carried and looked like he (Grichuk) had to go pretty deep into the stands to get it. George delivered a great swing. Cruel sport.”
Right-hander Charlie Morton (9-1, 2.74 ERA) will start on Tuesday for the Astros. Morton is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA over two career starts against the Blue Jays, with both coming last season. He has scuffled in June, going 2-1 with a 4.29 ERA while issuing 15 walks and posting six hit batsmen over 21 innings.
Toronto (37-41) will counter with left-hander Ryan Borucki, who will make his major league debut. The Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect, Borucki made the climb from Class A Dunedin to Triple-A Buffalo over the past two seasons. He was 6-5 with a 3.27 ERA over 13 starts with the Bison, recording 58 strikeouts in 77 innings. Borucki was scratched from his start on Sunday.
Selected by Toronto in the 15th round of the 2012 draft, Borucki missed the 2013 season following Tommy John surgery. He slowly reclaimed his strength, logging 135 2/3 innings in 2016 and a career-high 150 1/3 innings last season. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons coyly refused to confirm published reports that Borucki would make his debut, but the secret is out.
“We’ll have the young kid going (Tuesday) so hopefully he gives us some innings,” Gibbons said in response to concerns over his fatigued bullpen. “Nice way to debut.”
When pressed that he accidentally revealed his hand, Gibbons quipped, “You don’t know what young kid. Could be one of three or four of them.”
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