Bochy not concerned by Rangers slow start


By David Mullen

With the NHL’s Dallas Stars and NBA’s Dallas Mavericks making championship runs, MLB’s reigning World Champions are the Texas Rangers. With more than 110 games to go in the regular season, the Rangers are off to an average start, besieged by a slew of pitching injuries and slumps from normally reliable hitters. But Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, a four-time World Series winner, is not concerned.

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“I like where we’re at because of what we’ve had to deal with,” Bochy told me on May 16 prior to the PwC SMU Athletic Forum at the Hilton Anatole. “You look at the starters that we have on the IL. But you know, to be at 500, I’ll take it.” As of May 21, the Rangers are 24-24, in second place behind the Seattle Mariners in the winnable AL West.

“I was worried about the schedule in April, especially with 17 consecutive games that early,” Bochy said. “These guys aren’t in that everyday playing mode, and we tried to rest [players] as much as we could. I think we came out of that pretty good. But unfortunately, you’re losing [pitcher Cody] Bradford, [Dane] Dunning and [Nathan] Eovaldi. That’s tough. And we lost [Max] Scherzer and [Jacob] deGrom. That’s hard to replace.

“I talked about this with the team in spring training. In this game, and we showed it last year, it is so important to be resilient,” Bochy said. ”You’re going to have your ups and downs. You play 162 games. You’re going to have those moments where you don’t hit or if you’re pitching is not quite there. What’s important is not that it happens but how you deal with it. And these guys have done a great job of handling the tough times whether it’s the injuries or the losing streaks or not hitting.

“It’s not easy to go through as the manager, because that’s when they need you. Trust me, they don’t need you when it’s going well. [Adolis] Garcia, for example. He needs support when he’s going through his little thing [hitting slump]. So you kind of remind yourself, it’s just part of what you have to go through. And the good teams handle it well. The other teams don’t.”

Bochy’s approach to managing is to treat each player individually. ”They are all different. One size fits one,” Bochy said. “They all have to be dealt with in a different way. One player may need a kick in the tail and the other may need support. We are still behind them. A guy like Corey [Seager], he’s Corey. He handles everything well.

“You’ve got to mind what is going on with the player. Look under the hood and see what is happening. I just try to identify the problem and keep reminding myself that one size does not fit all when you are dealing with players.”

After retiring from the San Francisco Giants with three World Series titles in five seasons in the 2010s, Bochy was fishing in Tennessee instead of fishing for wins on the baseball diamond. “The first year I was fine. That was the COVID year. In the second year, I really started missing it. It was in the third year when C.Y. {Rangers GM Chris Young] called to see if he could get my appetite back into managing.”

Bochy had just finished trying to help the French team qualify for World Baseball Classic. “It didn’t go very well,” Bochy said, “But I said ‘Man, I really miss this.’ I never called anybody. I didn’t know if I would ever get back into managing.”

In October 2022, Rangers GM Chris Young reached out to Bochy, then 67, to see if he would return as Texas skipper. “When he called, we talked for hours and I was ready.” Bochy agreed to return to managing and led the Rangers to their first World Series Championship after 52 seasons in Arlington.

When the team lost Game 162 last year in Seattle, a division title and five days off turned into a two-game, wild card series in Tampa two days later. “That was the lowest point all season,” Bochy said. “All we had to do was win one more game and we knew it. We had to fly over our own ballpark to get to Tampa.

“But we did it the hard way. It gets back to being resilient. Being able to bounce back. And these guys amaze me. I felt this, once we got to Tampa, these guys would get the post season feeling. I believed it and still believe it. They would play better under pressure. When they have to win, they find a way.”