Games like the ones that unfolded Monday and Wednesday are likely to be when Texas Rangers fans get to see Joey Gallo the most this month.
Gallo, recalled Tuesday, appeared as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning in an 8-3 game and struck out on a 100 mph fastball.
The key for him the rest of the season, manager Jeff Banister said, is to be ready every day. That means preparing the right way and doing the right things when he is called upon.
Gallo knows it could be a long month, but he also knows that the experience is worth soaking up. He’s around the coaching staff that will take him into his formative years in Major League Baseball and around veterans who will offer him sage advice.
Gallo might be big and strike out a lot, but he’s no dummy. He’s knows what could be ahead — a starting job next season — and isn’t going to jeopardize that by doing the wrong things this month.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from an 8-3 loss.
1. A.J. Griffin’s next start would come Tuesday if the Rangers stay in rotation after Colby Lewis drops in Sunday. After Wednesday, both by performance and the news that Lewis was returning, that might be a big if.
Griffin allowed eight runs in four innings, including five in the first. Four of those game on an Adam Lind grand slam, and the Seattle Mariners tacked on single runs in the second, third and fourth.
The right-hander has been a nice contributor at times this season, including in the two starts before his Safeco Field stinker. But he was always a fill-in from the moment he cracked the rotation to start the season.
He was a fill-in Wednesday for Lewis, who is ready to come off the 60-day disabled list. With a division still to be clinched and with the Rangers needing to get Lewis up to speed as soon as possible, Griffin might be looking at only a couple spot starts the rest of the way.
The Rangers have a stated desired to keep Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels on their regular turn and to get Lewis cranking. Derek Holland and Martin Perez need to pitch, too. That leaves Griffin, who could step in if extra rest is prescribed for a rotation member or two.
There’s value in that role, just as there was value in what he did when healthy this season as a fill-in. He’s needed for a different role now, and Wednesday might dictate as much.
2. Remember that career-worst 0-for-32 drought Carlos Beltran found himself in last month? Neither does he.
The veteran is the proud possessor of a 10-game hitting streak, which started with the infield single that snapped his August funk. He kept the streak alive with a three-run homer in the sixth, his 27th homer of the season and fifth with a Rangers team that will need to find a designated hitter in the off-season.
Beltran wants to play in 2017, and why wouldn’t he based on this season? He is in the final year of a three-year, $45 million deal that paid him $15 million per season.
That might be too steep for the Rangers, who have decisions to also make on soon-to-be free agents Ian Desmond, Lewis, Mitch Moreland and even Carlos Gomez. The Rangers could also use the DH spot as a way to get Jurickson Profar regular at-bats and regulars more frequents days off their feet.
But Beltran makes a lot of sense if the price is right. Another big if.
3. It was good to see Tanner Scheppers back on the mound in the eighth inning, where he was oh so good for the Rangers in 2013 before injuries conspired against him the past three years.
He worked a perfect inning on 11 pitches.
The downward spiral started with his experiment as a starting pitcher. At least he’ll always be able to stay he started on Opening Day, which he did in 2014 before an elbow injury and ineffectiveness doomed his season.
He was standing at the start of last season, again was ineffective and injured, and was an afterthought for the postseason roster. His past three seasons have been so cursed by injury that he cut his finger on a bottle while celebrating the AL West title last year.
Scheppers was knocked out in spring training by a knee surgery after an off-season that had left the Rangers optimistic about him. Maybe he can find something over the final 22 games this season.
There is a role for him to grab, with Jeremy Jeffress out indefinitely. Scheppers, though, isn’t going to work back-to-back days for now and is going to have to push his way into a prominent role.
Time isn’t on his side, but at least he’s pitching again.