The Texas Rangers produced a winning record in the month of May.
They saw their offense come alive, their rotation falter over the final week, and their bullpen continue to stink.
They watched two key players hit the disabled list, and the key player come off it. More help is coming, at least theoretically, as the injured get released from the DL throughout June.
Things appear to be trending upward entering the season’s third month, though the end of May was a kick in the gut and the beginning of June, a three-game series against the Houston Astros, could result in a kick that lands just a little lower.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Wednesday’s 7-5 loss.
1. Austin Bibens-Dirkx’s first career start fell an out shy of his goal, which wasn’t exactly set high. The right-hander wanted to pitch five innings, which makes sense after being stuck as the long man for the past three weeks.
What he did in 4 2/3 innings was probably about as good as the Rangers could have realistically expected. Bibens-Dirkx allowed three runs, keeping the Rangers in the game.
Sure, it would have been nice if the Rangers could have squeezed six or seven innings out of him. The longer the bullpen is kept out of the game, the better.
But Matt Bush still would have ended up pitching the ninth inning and allowing the game-tying home run. It was his first blown save since officially being installed as closer, and he was miffed at the media for wanting to talk to him.
It’s crap, he said, wanting to talk to him after only bad outings and not when he fares well. Two things: A) That’s life as a closer and B) that’s not entirely accurate.
Anyhoo, he answered Emily Jones’ on-point questions quite well, so well that there was no need to follow up Jones’ questions, but not even Bush can be expected to be perfect. And it’s not like he lost the game.
The Rangers saved Sam Dyson for that.
They were actually trying to avoid using Dyson. He was the last man standing, though, with Dillon Gee available only in a emergency and with Tony Barnette and Keone Kela unavailable after their recent workloads.
What about Yu Darvish throwing left-handed? It couldn’t be much worse than Dyson, who did what he’s done all season, homer, out, out, error, homer.
That was that.
The Rangers now have to decide what to do with Dyson. He is out of minor-league options. Believe me, they’ve checked an double-checked on that.
Maybe Dyson has “injury” that needs to heal. The Rangers are planning to activate Jose Leclerc from the disabled list Friday, so maybe the move to get him on the active roster is to DL Dyson.
At this point, at 1-6, he should pass through waivers. In addition to his performances, he still has a couple million left on his 2017 contract. Maybe he would accept assignment to Triple A Round Rock.
It’s still hard, as least for me, to imagine the Rangers just eating Dyson’s contract and completely cutting ties with him.
But it’s past time to take some kind of drastic step.
2. The plan for Adrian Beltre came into focus Wednesday afternoon when the Rangers’ lineup revealed that he would be the designated hitter in his third game of the season.
Two games in the field, one at DH.
The Rangers upcoming stretch of off days helped crate the plan, to which Beltre had no objections. Usually, he raises holy H-E-double hockey sticks when told he can’t play in the field.
So, the question was posed to manager Jeff Banister: Has this latest injury, the strained right calf that took nearly forever to heal, given Beltre a more conservative on injuries going forward?
The Rangers, of course, hope they don’t have to find the answer to that. They hope he stays healthy. But at age 38, maybe, just maybe, Beltre has realized that he can’t play through an injury as well as he once did.
Beltre wasn’t in the clubhouse pregame, so his answer can’t be found here. He blamed the trickiness of the calf muscle for his difficulty in being unable to manage the strain like he has past quadriceps, hamstring and groin issues.
Banister was also hit with another question: At what percentage of full healthy is Beltre? The answer was pretty good, basically that no one really knows what 100 percent is for Beltre.
Once he says his trademark “good enough,” that might be his 100 percent. And since he’s usually dealing with something, “good enough” is good enough.
Beltre has been just fine so far for the Rangers, with four hits and two RBIs in his three games. He will likely need more time before he feels completely comfortable with his timing, just not as much time as other players.
He is a future Hall of Famer, after all.
3. The Rangers had exactly zero position players land in the top five in the initial round of voting for the All-Star Game.
None. Zip. Nada.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that they don’t have a starter, but to not have any in the top five does. Elvis Andrus, Jonathan Lucroy and Adrian Beltre, even though he has been injured, should have been able to squeeze into the top five at shortstop, catcher and first base.
So, it will be up to players and AL manager Terry Francona to get at least one Rangers player on the squad. Darvish seems like the obvious choice. Andrus is making a case for himself. Bush is, too.
Joey Gallo is making a case to be in the Home Run Derby. Derby participants aren’t required to be on either team, just as winner Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t last year.
Selections for the Derby are probably more than a month away, so there’s time for him to continue to catch the attention of the baseball world with his mammoth shots.
If MLB wants to keep making the Derby better, someone needs to push for Gallo to be included.