Hold everything, folks.
The Texas Rangers have won four consecutive games.
What in the world is going on? Wasn’t the season over as recently as Monday?
Just as knee-jerky as it is to call it quits on an MLB team’s season in May, it’s also knee-jerky to crown a team champions after a four-game winning streak in May that has pushed its record all the way to 17-20.
The point, which has been made here time and time again, is that the baseball season is so long — I mean, really, really long — that it’s a waste of time and energy to declare a talented team dead in May or to start booking hotel rooms for the postseason.
The Rangers have been pretty bad so far this season, and they haven’t exactly been the ’27 Yankees during the winning streak. Their opponents have been really bad (San Diego) and trending to bad (Oakland).
For four games and two nights, no matter how the Rangers have done it, they’ve won and suddenly, with two more games remaining on this homestand against Oakland A’s and three coming against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Rangers have a chance to head back on the road next weekend near, at or even above .500.
The Rangers could be on the verge of getting healthy and getting straightened out.
Or they could find themselves headed back down the drain.
It’s baseball. It’s a long season. Sit back and try to enjoy what comes next.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Friday and another 5-2 thriller.
The first thought is, “Of course, moron.”
Hall of Famer vs. Unproven Strikeout-Prone Slugger.
There’s little doubt that Beltre would be batting better than Gallo’s .203 and would have at least half the strikeouts. Batting third or fourth in the lineup, Beltre would have had ample opportunities to match Gallo’s team-leading 27 RBIs.
(Maybe not ample, considering the state of the offense.)
Beltre could retire with more than 500 home runs, so maybe he could have matched Gallo’s team-leading 12 home runs. No. 12 came Friday in the ninth inning as Gallo dinged the foul pole in right field for a three-run walk-off homer.
As for the advanced metrics that measure the damage/value of each hit, Beltre certainly could have delivered his fair share of those just as Gallo has so far.
After watching Beltre for six seasons, he’s usually a slow starter. His power flashed itself again last season, with 32 home runs after consecutive seasons under 20, but he usually waits until it’s a bit warmer to start sending balls out of the ballpark.
The defense would likely be better with Beltre at third, though Gallo hasn’t been a liability.
Gallo has been better on the bases, and it’s not close.
It’s a serious question: Would Beltre have been as productive as Gallo?
It might be difficult to answer because the obvious answer isn’t so obvious.
2. Andrew Cashner continues to give the Rangers a chance to win every fifth day even though, as is the case with Martin Perez, the offense doesn’t give him a chance at earning a win.
But not even Perez receives as little support as Cashner, who entered Friday with the fourth-worst run support in the majors. Since 2010, no starting pitcher has received less support (3.62 runs) than Cashner.
That’s a staggering statistic that has followed him from his days in San Diego. He said during spring training that he’s never played for a team with an offense that scored him runs, with the implication being that the Rangers were going to change his luck.
Maybe some day.
Cashner allowed one run on five hits in six innings against the A’s and left in a 1-1 tie.
Run support shouldn’t be his primary concern or even on his mind. Cashner job is to do his job, which he has done this season. Even in that start when he walked six in four innings, he only allowed two runs.
Cashner, whose record held at 0-3, registered his fourth quality start in six outings. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of those starts.
In addition to not getting much run support, Cashner hasn’t been getting much bullpen support. Jose Leclerc went up in flames Sunday at Seattle behind Cashner. Alex Claudio and Jeremy Jeffress were better Friday but still allowed what looked to be the winning run in the seventh.
The hitters then mounted the same comeback as they did a night earlier against San Diego, four runs in the ninth inning and winning on a three-run homer.
Cashner, though, remains winless, and that’s fine.
As long as he continues to pitch like he did Friday and, really, has pitched all season, the Rangers won’t complain.
3. Shohei Otani of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters is the next big thing coming from Japan, and general manager Jon Daniels traveled to Japan this week to watch the hard-throwing right-hander and big-time power hitter work out with a minor-league team.
Otani is on the disabled list with a thigh injury in what he has said will likely be his final season in Nippon Professional Baseball. Unlike those who came before him, Otani won’t command an enormous salary because he is only 22 and there are rules in the new collective bargaining agreement pertaining to international players younger than 25.
That stuff will be sorted out this winter, when he expects the Fighters to post him for $20 million. Even the manager of the Hokkaido club is prepared to lose his best player after this season.
Daniels wouldn’t go if he didn’t think signing Otani was possible. Otani seeing his face could be valuable when it comes to the kind of relationship that proves invaluable when a player selects which MLB club to negotiate with.
There’s another relationship that could help the Rangers: Yu Darvish’s friendship with and mentorship of Otani.
They work out together in the off-season, and Otani considers Darvish to be his idol and mentor. Some of the always insightful Japanese media members who cover Darvish agree that if Darvish is to re-sign with the Rangers and suggest that Otani sign with the Rangers, Otani will sign with the Rangers.
The question is whether the Rangers will want to keep Darvish, who wants to remain with the Rangers. Remember: Co-owner Ray Davis said during spring that he is willing to go to full market value if it’s for the right player. The question was in the context of keeping Darvish.
Sounds like a piece of cake. Pull the trigger on both.
Man, it really is easy to spend someone else’s money.