Anyone who had Joey Gallo tied for the league lead in home runs on April 25, please raise your hand.
Anyone who raised their hand is lying.
But that’s what Gallo was late Tuesday after his latest missile moved him into a tie atop the American League homer category with Khris Davis and George Springer. Davis was still playing at Anaheim at press time and had a chance to take solo possession of the top spot with a late-game dinger.
No one, including the Rangers decision-makers, thought that Gallo would make the Opening Day roster, and then they thought he would be at Triple A Round Rock after the first five games of the season.
But the Rangers’ decision-makers also didn’t see Adrian Beltre missing the first month of the season because of two strains in his right calf. That’s what happened, though, and Gallo is taking advantage.
His 424-footer was the only offensive highlight Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from an 8-1 loss that didn’t feel that close.
1. Andrew Cashner has made three starts for the Rangers and has walked 13 batters in 15 1/3 innings. In other words, he’s fitting right in.
No Rangers starting pitcher has been immune from the walk being a hindrance. Martin Perez walked three in the fifth inning Monday, and all three scored in a 3-2 loss.
None of the six batters Cashner walked Tuesday scored, but his inability to find the strike zone had other lasting effects. His pitch count hit 95 in the fifth inning, forcing the Rangers to go to the bullpen early.
They went to Anthony Bass, who hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 with the Rangers. The results weren’t good as the long man didn’t retire any of the first six batters he faced.
But the Cashner walks are what put Bass in the game, albeit with the Rangers down only 2-0 instead of by a larger margin that usually brings in a long man. Had Cashner finished the fifth, the Rangers could have opted to bypass Bass in favor of Alex Claudio.
That’s the damage Cashner’s walks did Tuesday.
Rua made a nice defensive play early but ran into an out after a sixth-inning single. He’ll be back in the lineup Wednesday as the Rangers give him a chance to get his bat heated up.
Banister pulled the plug on Profar because the offense isn’t scoring runs. They have scored two or fewer runs in six of the past eight games. They need production there, and Rua was the choice over Profar and Delino DeShields.
Maybe DeShields will get the next chance, if there is one, and that seems like a distinct possibility. The problem he’s facing now is that the manager likes the things he can do off the bench, namely run really, really fast and play center field when Carlos Gomez needs time off.
There are two other problems DeShields is facing, as well as Rua. One is that Beltre is getting healthy. Allegedly. The other is that Gallo making a push to not be sent to the minors when Beltre comes off the disabled list and takes over for Gallo at third base.
If the Rangers still aren’t scoring consistently enough and Gallo is still one of the biggest offensive threats, he will become the left fielder.
That also seems like a distinct possibility.
3. The lack of offense could very well be what led to the three outs the Rangers made on the bases. They aren’t scoring, they knew Ervin Santana was pitching brilliantly so far this season, so chances were taken on balls in the dirt and one to left field.
Banister wasn’t overly concerned, though. Baseball players were trying to make baseball plays, and the Rangers got unlucky when two potential wild pitches either hit the plate ump and/or were quickly gathered up by Twins catcher Jason Castro.
He threw a bullet to third base to get Shin-Soo Choo and a bullet to second to get Gomez. Rua was easily out at second trying to leg out a double, but Banister said that Eddie Rosario made a terrific play to cut off the ball before it did much damage.
Banister admitted that none of the plays looks particularly good, especially when the starting pitcher is walking six batters and the long man is surrendering hit after hit and the team continued to be play patsy to the Twins.
But the offense as a whole hasn’t looked good, even in two of the four wins in the sweep of Kansas City. The players know it, and that could very well be behind the three outs on the bases Tuesday.