The press box at Globe Life Park comes equipped with at least 20 televisions, and it’s a safe bet that many of them Sunday will not be turned to the finale between the Texas Rangers and the Oakland A’s.
The final round of the Masters will be must-see TV for many media types, and why wouldn’t it be? Masters Sunday rates as one of the top sporting days of the year, as does Sunday at the U.S. Open.
Opening Day, Super Bowl Sunday, the Final Four, and just about every college football Saturday also rank high on list.
An early-season Saturday MLB game? Well ...
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from the Rangers’ 6-1 loss.
1. Well before first pitch, well before, the wind was howling at Globe Life Park.
When groundskeeper Dennis Klein watered down the infield, he had to play the wind. At one point, Yu Darvish grabbed a plastic bag that had made its way to the pitching mound.
Napkins littered the outfield.
This happens a few times a year.
But both teams have to play in the wind, which alters the flight of balls and otherwise is a pain in the butt.
In other words, there are no excuses when a play isn’t made.
Nomar Mazara said that the wind affected the flight of the Jed Lowrie flyball into the right-field corner with two outs in the eighth inning. It looked like it would be the third out of the inning, one that would strand a runner at second base and leave the Rangers down only 2-1, and left-hander Dario Alvarez certainly expected that to be the case.
Mazara, though, was fooled by the wind, overran the ball, and it fell for a kindly scored double that made it 3-1. The next batter, Yonder Alonso, drilled a two-run homer to wipe out the Rangers’ chances.
“It would have gotten us out of the inning,” manager Jeff Banister said.
The throwing error Mike Napoli made in the seventh also helped the A’s tack on a run.
It wasn’t a banner night for the defense after the Rangers spent the spring emphasizing the need to catch the ball, especially in the outfield. Errors, like walks, are going to happen, but even team’s projected to be bottom-feeders will feast when handed extra outs.
2. No one can lodge any serious complaints about Darvish’s performance, though some pitch efficiency might have helped him get past six innings. He allowed one run, as Oakland turned a leadoff walk in the sixth — Darvish felt he made the pitches he wanted but didn’t get the calls — into the game’s first run.
Overall, Darvish allowed four hits and three walks with five strikeouts. His slider seemed sharper than on Opening Day, but his command of the strikeout could still use a little tidying up even though he and Banister thought it was better than in the opener.
For those who read into body language and behavioral nuances, it was easy to tell that Darvish was pleased with his performance. His answers were long and more detailed than after unsatisfactory starts, and he said that what he did today will help him moving forward.
It’s not like he was in no-man’s land after Monday’s start. He left with the lead, outpitching a former Cy Young winner, and on Saturday he left down a run against a team’s Opening Day starter who took a no-hitter into the sixth.
Darvish is fine and was all along.
3. Napoli made up for his error with a home run that spoiled Kendall Graveman’s no-hit bid and could be the hit that gets him going. The return of Adrian Beltre could also help.
The Rangers didn’t provide any word Saturday if Beltre will return Sunday, the first day he is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list. Beltre went through his most extensive workout Saturday since his injuring his right calf and has been running the bases.
A session of live batting practice was arranged earlier in the day.
While some signs point to a return, others don’t. Banister said that the decision will be based on how Beltre feels and what the medical staff believes is most prudent. With an off day Monday, another game off seems most prudent.
Were Beltre healthy, Sunday’s day game before an off day might be a scenario where Banister gives Beltre a day at designated hitter or might sit him entirely under the philosophy of missing one game but getting two days off.
Whenever he is activated, it will likely lead to the demotion of Joey Gallo, who has impressed as Beltre’s fill-in. If Gallo is sent down, it won’t be for the rest of the season.
He’s on the verge of becoming a Rangers regular or a frequent contributor.