My plans for the off day Thursday might be changing. Here’s why:
I’m flying to Washington ahead of the Texas Rangers’ weekend series against the Nationals.
My flight is at 10 a.m., but there is a 6 a.m. flight that would get me to D.C. right when the testimony begins. I have status.
Many bars in Washington are opening early so that people can watch it live.
How awesome is that?
Of course, 4 a.m. comes awfully early, and it would really stink sitting around the airport five hours if somehow I didn’t get on the 6 a.m. flight. Then again, the bars at DFW open early, too.
The Rangers’ offense opened up early Tuesday, and didn’t stop cranking out the hits until after they loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth and didn’t score.
They had done enough. But barely, as it turned out.
And then there’s Adrian Beltre’s left ankle.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 10-8 victory.
1. Forget all the good that happened. Beltre could be headed back to the disabled list.
The third baseman’s left foot was in a walking boot with sprained left ankle, and he seemed about as down about his plight as can be. That tends to happen when, as Beltre said, it’s difficult to put weight on a foot.
He’s clearly frustrated by the injury, which happened in the first inning as he legged out the back end of a double play to get the Rangers on the scoreboard. He landed awkwardly on the bag, but stayed in the game until the sixth inning.
Beltre, who missed the first 51 games of the season, could be back on the DL after his first seven games of the season.
As Stefan Stevenson likes to say, #crotchkick.
“To miss 50-something games and finally come back and play [seven] games and this happens,” Beltre said. “What are you gonna do?”
Beltre had one hit, a third-inning single ahead of Joey Gallo’s 17th homer of the season. Beltre is up to 2,952 hits on his way to 3,000. How knows how far away that might be now.
“We’ll wait a couple of days and see how it goes,” Beltre said.
Shin-Soo Choo did something similar to his left ankle early in the 2014 season and did not go on the disabled list. He played well for another few weeks before the ankle and, later, an elbow injury conspired to wreck his first season with the Rangers.
He underwent surgery on both in the off-season.
Beltre had his ankle taped as he hit the bag and went to have it retaped during the game. He said he got a little worse as the game wore on, but not significantly so. It was plain to see that his defensive range and running were affected.
The Rangers still have Gallo, who played remarkable well as Beltre’s replacement and can move from first base to third. The problem is that first baseman Mike Napoli was placed on the DL earlier Tuesday, so the Rangers are left with Ryan Rua and Jonathan Lucroy as options at first.
They could dip into the minors for Jurickson Profar, Brett Nicholas or Ronald Guzman if Beltre goes on the DL and until Napoli returns. He might only need the minimum time on the DL.
Maybe that’s all Beltre will need, but it appears he will need to return to the DL.
2. The Rangers’ starting outfielder went 9 for 12 with a home run, four RBIs and five runs Tuesday night, and center fielder Jared Hoying made a leaping catch in the third inning to rob Jay Bruce of a home run.
That turned out to be a critical play as the Mets rallied for three runs in the ninth against Matt Bush and had the go-ahead run at the plate when Bruce bounced into a game-ending 3-6-1 double play.
All lineups are at the best with production 1 through 9, and Hoying and Delino DeShields went 5 for 7 batting eighth and ninth. DeShields did what the game asked him to do, delivering a sacrifice fly and beating out a sacrifice bunt.
Nomar Mazara did what a No. 3 hitter is supposed to do, going 4 for 5 with a home run. The four hits tied his career-high set last season on ... June 6.
DeShields and Hoying have been splitting time but were both in the lineup with Napoli out. DeShields does things on offense that no other player on the Rangers’ roster can do, namely run like the wind, but he might not have made the same leaping catching Hoying made and doesn’t possess the arm.
I’m on the record as a believer in DeShields, who has been a catalyst in the past and at times this season. The Rangers can use any spark they can get.
Maybe DeShields and Hoying continue to play together if Beltre heads to the DL.
3. Score one for the good guys, the guys who endure and survive and reach their goals. Austin Bibens-Dirkx is now the winning pitcher of a major-league baseball game.
The right-hander put out a fire in the fourth inning, relieving Dillon Gee, and worked a scoreless fifth after the Rangers had grabbed an 8-4 lead.
His story has been well-documented. The abridged version is he spent 12 years in the minors before getting called up this season.
On top of that, he’s been really good for the Rangers in long relief and one spot start.
Gee is another good guy, though he hasn’t had the same career journey as Bibens-Dirkx. But both started the season at Round Rock, and both have the same goal of sticking with the Rangers in some capacity.
With three games at a National League park coming, the Rangers are going to make a roster move for an extra bench player. But Gee’s next turn is Sunday in the series finale at Washington, though Bibens-Dirkx or Nick Martinez could also get that start.
The Rangers will also need a starter Tuesday with Tyson Ross getting another rehab start, so the Rangers need arms that can log multiple innings.
Martinez has been a steadier hand this season and was solid in relief Sunday, Gee was good in two appearances before his Tuesday start, and Bibens-Dirkx arguably has been one of the Rangers’ top relievers the past month.
It would be prudent to keep all three on the roster as they sort through their rotation issues.