A trip to Fenway Park meant a chance to catch up with Mitch Moreland, who is in his first season manning first base for the Boston Red Sox after seven seasons doing the same for the Texas Rangers.
Moreland is another former Rangers player who rates as a really good guy. He’s also going to chip in with some Red Sox memorabilia for the sold-out Do It For Durrett event June 16 at Globe Life Park.
He’s doing just fine in Boston, though he admits that he’s still trying to adjust to the Boston culture. The weather seems a bit more concerning for him, too. Forty and rain just about every day, he lamented.
Moreland signed only a one-year deal, so perhaps he will have to adjust again next season. He’ll have a job somewhere, with his pop and glove keeping him employed.
The Rangers are missing the glove. They have a new left-handed-hitting slugger who they seem intent on keeping around for a while.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Tuesday’s 11-6 loss
1. No pitcher, including the 13 on the Rangers’ roster, should be expected to not issue any walks. That’s completely unrealistic.
As the Rangers have learned this season, there will be games when they can live with a walk-heavy start depending on how well the pitcher rebounds.
There is such thing as a good walk, like when a pitcher works around a hitter for a more favorable matchup. There are times when he doesn’t get a call or two en route to Ball Four.
Andrew Cashner fits the profile of the three scenarios above.
He had shown a knack for working around walks by virtue of double play, but couldn’t get two turned behind him Tuesday.
All veteran pitchers know that sometimes it’s better if they pitch around a bad matchup, which Cashner might have done in the second and the fifth. He got the ground balls he wanted from the next batter, after all.
Bad umpiring? It’s part of the game, but Cashner made it apparent that he wasn’t pleased with the plate work of Bill Welke.
The two two-out walks in the sixth by Dario Alvarez and Jeremy Jeffress weren’t good walks at all. Alvarez walked the No. 9 hitter after easily getting the first two outs of the inning, and Jeffress came in and promptly walked Mookie Betts.
Dustin Pedroia followed with a two-run double, Xander Bogaerts followed with an RBI double, and that was that.
Jeffress, who is suddenly the Rangers’ worst reliever, then walked two more (one intentionally).
Could both doubles have been caught? Maybe, but they don’t happen if not for those two walks.
Whether good or bad, the walks prevented Cashner from going beyond five innings and gave the Red Sox’s best hitters an extra chance to bat. The walks also put Alvarez and Jeffress in the game too early.
That turned out to be the biggest problem caused by the walks.
2. The offense passed its first test of the series by collecting 13 hits against reigning American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and two Red Sox relievers. A third reliever didn’t surrender anything.
The Rangers are suddenly hit happy, with at least eight hits in 12 of their past 13 games. They have at least five runs in 10 of their past 11, and Adrian Beltre could join the lineup as early as early next week.
The hitting streaks of Nomar Mazara and Jonathan Lucroy have reached double-digits, with Mazara leading the way with 11 straight. Shin-Soo Choo has raised his average 49 points in the past 25 games and continues to be an on-base machine.
There’s a lot of good going on right now, yet the league stats showed the Rangers with the third-worst average entering Tuesday at .237 . They were batting only .215 on the road.
Those numbers come despite their recent tear, .299 in the 12 games entering Tuesday.
That shows how bad the offense was the first 32 games of the season. Their hot stretch has put only a dent into that slow start statistically, but the hitters are confident that this is the beginning of them being what they thought they would be entering the season.
3. After initially hedging my bets on Joey Gallo staying with the Rangers once Beltre comes off the disabled list, believing it was possible he would be sent to the minor leagues, I’m now firmly convinced that Gallo will become the Rangers’ regular left fielder as soon as Beltre is ready.
That was before he used the Green Monster for cheap double in the third and launched his 14th homer in the eighth. I swear.
Jon Daniels and Jeff Banister all but said so without saying so. That sub-.200 batting average? They’re OK with it because Gallo continues to be a productive player. Should he stop clubbing homers, scoring runs and suddenly become a liability on the bases, that might change.
But Daniels also said that the best thing for Gallo is to continue to let him play and to continue to have him stay around the big-league coaching staff. They deserve some of the credit for Gallo’s defense at third base and for working with him on his swing.
Yes, there were 63 strikeouts entering Tuesday, but Gallo has had many productive at-bats, which had led to 21 walks, and has been putting the ball in play enough to give Banister hope that there’s more in there.
Logistically, moving Gallo to left field will be easy to make. Delino DeShields can shift to center field, and Jared Hoying can be optioned. There will still be chances for Ryan Rua to play.
The return of Carlos Gomez will complicate things again, but that could be a month away. Beltre could be a week away.
Gallo isn’t going anywhere.