To those loyal readers who have spoken up about the Star-Telegram’s decision to cut box scores from the section, I hear you and my poor editor has heard from me. Multiple times.
I’m certainly not the newspapers ombudsman. That position probably got eliminated a long time ago or wasn’t filled when that person bolted the business, along with multiple other positions.
This is the latest sign of our newspaper times. Shrinking sections no longer have the room for agate (box scores, leaders, etc.), and if there were room, there aren’t enough people to compile them in addition to the massive workload they are already carrying.
The solution as I see it is to stage a protest. Send emails. Post on social media. Call your congressman. Maybe George Soros can send some of his professional protesters to the Star-Telegram building.
There’s also this: If there’s interest in the box scores being put online, either reply to this on Twitter or Facebook or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. I’m thinking 50 messages will send a message.
You’re up, Soros.
At least the Rangers’ box scores will be in the paper after every game. Sometimes, that’s good. Sometimes, not so good.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from some good from Wednesday’s 8-3 victory.
1. At least everyone has learned why Matt Bush didn’t pitch Tuesday night: He has a sore shoulder and wasn’t even at Angel Stadium as the Rangers saw their 5-0 lead go down the drain.
He won’t be back with the Rangers until Friday after receiving an injection of feelgood Wednesday in Arlington. It takes a few days for those cortisone injections to hit their target, so there’s no use sending him back to Anaheim.
But the Bush soreness has further complicated the back of the Rangers’ bullpen. Sam Dyson can’t close out games, Jeremy Jeffress hasn’t been great, and Keone Kela is serving time at Triple A Round Rock.
If the Rangers don’t want Dyson to close games for a few days, Tony Barnette might be the choice. Manager Jeff Banister said that Barnette’s time as a closer in Japan has value.
“He knows the feel,” Banister said.
Raise your hand if you want to see more of that.
The Rangers are stuck, though, and the one pitcher who can get them out of the muck Dyson created is Dyson. When he’s on, Banister said, he’s an elite reliever with premium stuff.
Dyson claims that the fixes he needs to make aren’t difficult, but don’t expect him to get a chance to pitch in leverage situations to try to fix them. He’ll get flat-ground work and maybe a couple bullpen sessions, and then maybe a game.
Could it be this weekend at Seattle? Sure. The Rangers can’t sit on him forever with Bush also unavailable until at least Friday.
Cleaning up the mess Dyson created could take time, which the Rangers have only eight games into the season. An improved Dyson is the best option to fix it.
2. Whatever Elvis Andrus is eating for breakfast, it’s working.
The light-hitting shortstop has smacked three home runs this season after a second-inning solo shot. Coupled with a home run Tuesday, Andrus has hit homers in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
His power numbers have been trending up. He went deep seven times in 2015 and had eight distance blows (credit: Larry Swindell) in 2016. He has 153 more games to pass that total.
Andrus’ career is on the uptick, too. He batted a career-high .302 last season despite playing with a groin injury/sports hernia. While he wasn’t affected at the plate, his range and base running were limited. Maybe he was robbed of some power.
MLB Trade Rumors revisited his contract recently, and it’s an interesting read. Their conclusion is that he will never live up to the $15 million annual salary, but multiple quality seasons in a row could make him want to opt out in 2018 or 2019.
In the present, he’s hitting homers and trending upward. I don’t hear the Rangers complaining.
3. The Rangers are hitting homers at a league-leading pace. Mike Napoli hit the first of three homers Wednesday, giving the Rangers at home run in all eight games this season.
That’s the second-longest streak to open a season in club history.
Carlos Gomez added a third in the seventh, and he took an extra look at it as it cleared the left-field fence. Angels fans didn’t care for that, and it’s likely that Angels manager Mike Scoiscia, purveyor of baseball’s unwritten rules, didn’t like it either.
The long ball is carrying the Rangers’ offense, though Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor provided two-run triples and Jurickson Profar’s first hit of the season was an RBI single.
As opposing pitchers try to establish their fastballs early in the season, the Rangers are trying to ambush them. They haven’t shown the versatility they had at the plate last season, but that’s likely coming once everyone settles in.
Gomez snapped an 0-for-16 slide with his homer. Napoli was batting .148 entering the game before collecting two hits on a night when all nine players had at least one hit.
Maybe that’s the start of a more complete offense. Just don’t expect the Rangers to apologize for hitting all those home runs until the offense is at full speed.