Rougned Odor returned to the Rangers’ lineup Saturday night and whatever rust he may have gathered during his seven-game suspension quickly turned to a bright shiny sheen.
He collected two hits, including a single in a three-run first and a double in the sixth as the Rangers roughed up the Mariners 10-4 at Globe Life Park.
Oh, and Jurickson Profar continued his surge, collecting multiple hits for the sixth time in eight games since being called up from Triple A Round Rock. Profar was the designated hitter with Prince Fielder getting a night off (and perhaps another Sunday) with hopes of helping him find his stroke at the plate. Profar is likely to be used in the same role Sunday. As early as Monday, however, when a four-game series with the Astros begins, the Rangers will have to figure out where they want to play if he’s not headed back down to Round Rock. That move, at least for now, seems completely unlikely.
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Here are three thoughts from Saturday’s late-starting, record-tying win against the Mariners:
1. Winning and more winning — Record-tying, you ask? Yes, with their series-clinching win Saturday, the Rangers have won nine consecutive home series since losing their opening series to the Mariners in early April. That ties the club record (all in one season) set in August-September 1993. They can break the tie by taking three of four from the Astros. The Rangers have a two-game lead on the Mariners in the A.L. West. They’ve won eight of their past 10 and are a season-best 11 games over .500 at 33-22. Texas didn’t reach 11 games over .500 until Sept. 16 last season.
2. Father Martin — Martin Perez carried a different feeling onto the mound Saturday night. He got the win for the third consecutive start to improve to 4-4 after holding the Mariners to three runs despite allowing nine hits, including a homer to Nelson Cruz, over six innings. Perez was pitching as a father for the first time after he and his wife gave birth to their first child, daughter Malena Kate Perez, on Thursday. “It was amazing. It was a different feeling than the kind of feeling you get when you love a woman,” Perez said. “But when you have a baby it is so different … I feel good. Being a daddy is amazing for me. I’m just trying to give [to my] family and build my family. I’d like to be a good family guy and I think it’s time for me.”
Congratulations to the Perez family!
3. Quiet drive — Heading southbound on I-35 between Fort Worth and Austin right now isn’t anyone’s idea of a leisurely drive. Massive construction work and heavy traffic usually makes it a total beatdown. Not for Rangers reliever Tom Wilhelmsen. He cleared his head on the three-hour trip down to Round Rock and it helped him find his groove with the Triple A Express. He returned to the Rangers Saturday night and threw a scoreless ninth. The odd thing, at least for me, is Wilhelmsen made the drive (down and back) in complete silence. No music. No talk radio. Just the sound of the engine and the occasional 18-wheeler.
“It was a good three hours on the road. It was a nice alone time to really bring in some perspective,” Wilhelmsen said.
Whatever it takes, I guess. But that sounds like sheer torture to me. Give me some Pearl Jam or U2 turned up to a medically unsafe volume and my mind will clear right out. Give me silence and my mind will go deep down a wormhole that frankly I don’t care to see.