A few leftovers from the past few days that are newsworthy and need to see the light of day:
▪ Rangers owner Ray Davis was honored Wednesday night in Washington with the Eisenhower Award for his work with the Military Wellness Initiative that he and U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry started last year.
The official website says that “MWI is a collaborative effort designed to explore, demonstrate, and validate what is immediately possible for improving the health and wellness of military members, their families, and their support networks.”
Not even Randy Galloway can roll his eyes about Davis on this one.
▪ Saturday is Jackie Robinson Day, and every member of every MLB team will wear No. 42 to honor the Hall of Fame player who broke baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947. The Rangers are 5-3 in No. 42 jerseys, 3-1 on the road.
▪ Elvis Andrus entered Friday as the American League leader in ... slugging percentage? Yes, slugging percentage at .794. He was tied for first in total bases and extra-base hits.
The Rangers were the league leaders in homers with 18, but they failed to homer Friday for the first time this season. Uh oh.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
1. Martin Perez did it again. He managed to post a relatively effective outing that kept the Rangers in the game even though he wasn’t as effective as he can be and looked like he would take the Rangers out of the game.
That’s become the norm, I guess.
Like Cole Hamels before him Tuesday, Perez flirted with having a 50-percent strike rate. After 70 pitches, he was below 50 percent for rallying a 54 percent rate.
Perez walked four and allowed six hits in five-plus innings on 98 pitches/53 strikes (Hamels threw 100 pitches/51 strikes in seven innings). The Perez start rates as effective because the game was tied 1-1 when he left with runners at first and second and no outs in the sixth, and it was tied after Jose Leclerc struck out the next three batters.
The ineffective part was that the Rangers had to dive into their bullpen with no outs in the sixth. The Rangers needed to get another inning out of Perez, but instead were forced to ask Leclerc to work two innings.
He didn’t have it in him, and the thin Rangers’ bullpen will likely be without him and possibly Jeremy Jeffress, who got five outs, on Saturday.
The left-handed Perez has a 2.20 ERA after three starts with 18 hits, 11 walks and 14 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings. He won’t have a 2.20 ERA if he continues to walk four batters game.
Throwing strikes has been the mantra all along from the manager’s office. Hamels didn’t do it Tuesday yet was crafty enough to get 21 outs and allow only one run. A.J. Griffin and Yu Darvish did it to close out the series at Anaheim.
The trend didn’t continue with Perez, but he still managed to post a relatively effective outing.
That’s become the norm, I guess.
2. A topic of conversation with manager Jeff Banister early in the week was the defense of Joey Gallo, who for a big man (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) moves pretty well at third base.
The Rangers say that he always has moved well, though they haven’t seen it over long stretches at third base. Gallo is in a long stretch now with Adrian Beltre likely sidelined through the end of the month, and Banister contends Gallo has found a comfort level and rhythm in the field.
He had his best defensive game Friday, and it didn’t take long for his glove to come into play.
Gallo started an inning-ending double play in the first one a Nelson Cruz smash, and then started another in the second on a Taylor Motter grounder to wipe out a leadoff walk.
Motter made the mistake of hitting the ball toward Gallo again in the eighth. He cut in front of shortstop Elvis Andrus, collected himself and threw a strike to first base for the out.
Gallo wasn’t too bad at the plate, either. He went 1 for 3 with the first hit off Felix Hernandez, a double to the left-field wall in the second on an 0-2 pitch. Gallo took Hernandez to a full count in the fifth before striking out looking.
The stats sheet shows Gallo batting only .219, but the quality of his at-bats have been so much better than last season that it’s hard to believe it’s the same guy. It is, and, as has been said here since early in spring camp, he’s on his way.
3. So, Andrew Cashner is going to pitch Saturday night, and that’s fine. Kind of looking forward to it, here. Aren’t you?
The Rangers determined that he didn’t need one more rehab outing, presumably in beautiful Des Moines, Iowa, with Triple A Round Rock. Cashner said he’s healthy, and the Rangers believe him and believe that he didn’t need to build up to 90 pitches before pitching in a major-league game.
Part of the decision might have also had to do with the alternatives, namely Nick Martinez and Eddie Gamboa. Martinez has had success in the majors, just not recently, and though his one outing at Round Rock looked decent, he needed 91 pitches to complete five scoreless innings.
Gamboa won his first start of the season and was on schedule to pitch Saturday. The sense here is that the Rangers don’t have their arms around his knuckleball tightly enough yet to trust it.
When Cashner is at his best, he’s working his sinker on both sides of the plate and getting swings and misses with his slider. He likes the progress his changeup has made in his build-up to the season after dealing with biceps soreness in spring training.
His stuff has been good enough to get out hitters at extended spring training. He and the Rangers think it can get out hitters at Safeco Field.
Kind of looking forward to seeing it.