The past four Texas Rangers games haven’t exactly been the most exciting in the world, though the no-hitter thrown by San Diego Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove ultimately was a thrill to see in person.
But chicks dig the long ball, or something like that, and the Rangers haven’t delivered many of those. They have four runs in the past 36 innings, all of them coming in Saturday’s loss.
The good news, what little there is, is that Joey Gallo continues to reach base. He has done so in every game this season, good for a .452 on-base percentage.
With the bats behind him ice cold, though, it’s been to no avail.
He reached twice Monday night at Tropicana Field, but never left first base.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, and a few leftovers from the past week.
Rangers pitching is good?
Stop laughing. Take out the first two games of the season, and the pitching staff, particularly the starting rotation, has been good. Or at least better than expected.
I’m not kidding. This is my job.
Take away the 22 earned runs allowed in 16 innings of the first two games, and the Rangers have a 3.04 ERA. The starters had a 2.39 ERA the last time through the rotation, and Dane Dunning lowered that number Monday night with four scoreless innings.
It’s early, of course, so it’s premature to say the Rangers’ rebuild is complete on the pitching side. Conversely, it’s premature to say the Rangers’ offense is horrible and won’t score again this season.
But the Rangers have little to complain about with their pitchers.
Two areas of concern, though, are their shortage of strikeouts and the number of homers they’ve coughed up.
The Rangers entered Monday with the second-fewest Ks in the American League, but Taylor Hearn alone helped bolster that number with seven strikeouts in three innings.
The staff also entered Monday with 16 homers allowed, second-most in the league, and it jumped by one as Willy Adames just cleared the wall off Hearn in the seventh.
The pitching staff’s start to the season, though, is much better than it seems after those first two games.
Rangers offense is awful?
Yeah, the hitters are definitely struggling, with only a few exceptions.
Collectively, the Rangers have been shut out in three of their past four games. There wasn’t much of a hangover from the no-hitter, as the Rangers scored four times the next night.
The issue is that too many hitters are having their weaknesses exposed as they were again Monday by Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, who had 14 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.
Leody Taveras and Anderson Tejeda have been mostly overmatched, though Taveras’ line-drive single in the ninth Monday might get the needle moving the right way. Nick Solak is really struggling, to the point where he was dropped three spots in the order Monday.
Here’s the catch: The Rangers were expecting these things to happen.
Their lineup is filled with players who are regulars for the first full season in their careers. Taveras, Tejeda, Trevino and Lowe top that list, and Eli White is getting his first meaningful playing time in the majors.
And they’re going to keep playing.
Taveras, Tejeda and White should see playing time diminish as Willie Calhoun, Brock Holt and Khris Davis return from the injured list. Holt should be back this weekend, and Calhoun isn’t that far way.
Davis probably needs another three or four weeks.
It will be May by then, when the minor-league seasons fire up, and that’s the loose deadline the Rangers have given their young players to right the ship.
But don’t hold the Rangers to that if the hole these young hitters are digging themselves into becomes inescapable.
Feeling bad for Guzman
Here’s how badly Ronald Guzman wants to be a regular in the major leagues: He was willing to put his 6-foot-6, 250-pound body in the outfield to find at-bats.
He had played well there, too, well enough for manager Chris Woodward to play him in left field. Guzman was the Rangers’ starter there Monday, when his season came to a sudden halt.
Guzman left the game in the first inning after his right leg buckled and his knee did something painful on the turf at Tropicana Field. A cart retrieved Guzman and took him to the warning track, and then he was placed in a wheelchair and pushed off the field.
He was in pain, physically and emotionally.
This spring, Guzman felt like he was on the cusp of having a big season. He was the MVP of the Dominican Winter League and carried that momentum in to spring training.
He out-hit Lowe, who won the Rangers over with a consistent approach and was named the starting first baseman.
That’s why Guzman was in left field Monday, trying to prove that he belongs.
It could be some time before he gets back on the field.
Some of you might have seen my tweet and video of the Opening Day crowd at Globe Life Field, which numbered 38,238. Most of you probably didn’t see the replies.
The majority were something along the lines of Texas and Texans are stupid, COVID-19 is about to spike, and the world may very well come to an end because of the Rangers’ decision to open to full capacity.
Massive spikes never really developed directly because of previous large gatherings, like the Super Bowl in early February in Florida or in celebrations like the one after Alabama’s football team won the national title.
Or all the protests over the past year.
Some of the replies to the fear-mongerers was something akin to telling people to stop living in fear and start living again, presumably from those who are vaccinated, are tired of being locked down, or both.
Hey, everyone is free to live however they want, or should be.
The thinking here, which is also the thinking of the medical community, is that the coronavirus and all its variants aren’t going to go away. They’re here to stay, just like the flu, the common cold and sinus infections.
If someone is waiting until coronavirus no longer exists, it’s going to be a long wait.
Here’s some advice: Get the vaccine and use your brand of common sense when in public. Add a COVID-19 shot to your calendars each year, just like a flu shot.
Take whatever numbers or media reports necessary to justify your decision on whether to cut the cords on the masks or stay the course, though it’s not like all people in Texas have abandoned their face covering.
Most businesses, like the Rangers, are still requiring masks. Most people are complying, whether they want to or not. More and more people are getting vaccinated, and many of the sellout crowd Monday are vaccinated.
It’s not the Wild West.
Now, if people want to wait to go out until they are vaccinated, wonderful. If people don’t want to get vaccinated, that’s their choice.
But they’ll soon be in the minority nationwide. The majority will be out there living again.
It’s pretty nice out here.
Sure, people might catch COVID-19. They might go to the hospital. They might go to the morgue. They might also catch a cold or the flu or get a foot run over by a car.
Those ailments aren’t going anywhere. Neither is the coronavirus.
Daniels deals Odor
Also raging in my Twitter notifications was a spirited argument about president of baseball operations Jon Daniels being the scourge of the organization and the No. 1 roadblock in the way of progress.
Even his harshest critics, though, need to give him some credit for actually getting something for Rougned Odor.
Odor was traded last to the New York Yankees in exchange for two minor-leaguers, outfielder Josh Stowers and outfielder/catcher Antonio Cabello. Both were considered Yankees top-30 prospects before the minor-league season was canceled last season.
The Rangers are on the hook for almost all of Odor’s remaining salary of $27.66 million. Think of it this way: Teams place a fairly high dollar figure on 40-man spots, and $13 million a year for Odor’s spot isn’t out of line.
And to get two young players for an inconsistent player owed $27.66 million is pretty unexpected. It’s pretty good work, actually.
Odor made his Yankees debut Sunday, his beard gone. He even delivered the go-ahead single against the Rays during an 1-for-5 game. He had another hit Monday, going 1-for-3.
That .250 average is 83 points higher than he hit last season.