Following Adrian Beltre’s march up the all-time leaderboards continues to provide quality entertainment. The players he’s matching and passing are pretty special.
Take the past two Texas Rangers games, for instance.
Beltre collected three RBI on Monday and two Tuesday to move him past Harmon Killebrew for 36th on the career list and into a tie for 35th with Miguel Cabrera at 1,585. His double Monday gave him 596, good for a tie for 17th all time with Luis Gonzalez (maybe not an all-time great, but pretty good).
Next up on the doubles list at 601 is Barry Bonds.
The big milestone Beltre is chasing, of course, is 3,000 hits. He waited until the eighth inning Tuesday night for a hit, a solo homer, and is at 2,960.
Knowing Beltre, he enjoyed the Rangers’ win much better.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 6-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Suddenly, the Rangers’ starting pitching is looking, well, good.
The Rangers, of course, aren’t going to a seven-man rotation, so they have a difficult decision ahead of them once Cashner and Hamels are declared ready to go. Hamels (right oblique) pitches at noon Wednesday in a rehab start at Double A Frisco, and Cashner (left oblique) is moving through a program but so far hasn’t thrown only into netting.
Bibens-Dirkx will start Saturday at Yankee Stadium, and Martinez could start Sunday near his old college stamping grounds (Fordham is in the Bronx) if Cashner doesn’t come off the DL.
Maybe Martinez bought Cashner and Hamels an extra day or two.
The right-hander allowed only one run on two hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings, a start that rates as one of his best of the season and one of his best since early in 2015.
So, now what?
Martinez and Bibens-Dirkx aren’t going to stay in the rotation. One figures to become the long man, since the Rangers don’t have one, and the other will either be moved to Triple A Round Rock to continue working as a starter or take over one of the bullpen spots currently occupied by Tanner Scheppers or Ernesto Frieri.
With A.J. Griffin still weeks away from being ready to do anything and with the Rangers short on starters at Round Rock, it seems like one will go to the minors. Martinez could draw the short straw, as he’s the better option if needed as a long-term rotation fill-in.
The Rangers wouldn’t want to see him lose the ability to start.
It would be a tough hand to be dealt for either pitcher after the contributions they have made the past month. That, though, is the life of a pitcher with minor-league options remaining.
The Rangers have only a handful of days until they are faced with some tough decisions.
2. Joey Gallo was on the bench with a left-hander pitching for the Blue Jays, and that will happen more often in what manager Jeff Banister called a “soft” platoon.
Gallo will still face some lefties, as Banister likes Gallo’s chances of going deep against all pitchers, and he has more value than just popping homers.
Though struggling in a 6-for-50 slump, Gallo isn’t too worried, and neither are the Rangers. As long as the Rangers are winning more than they are losing, which they are doing, they can survive while he finds his way.
Remember: Gallo is 23 and in his first full season in the majors. This is going to happen.
But so are the homers, as he’s shown 18 times this season. His kind of power is the kind that wows everyone who watches him and would play nicely in the Home Run Derby as part of the All-Star Festivities next month at Miami.
One thing: Gallo isn’t sure if he would accept an invitation.
He is fully aware that this is his first full season. Though not a rookie, technically, Gallo knows his place and doesn’t want to draw attention to himself and be a distraction for his team.
He also said a mental hiatus at a beach somewhere during the All-Star break wouldn’t be the worst thing to ever happen to him.
Nevertheless, he isn’t 100 percent sold on not competing in the Derby, which could feature fellow young sluggers Aaron Judge, Miguel Sano and Cody Bellinger. There’s also the hometown favorite, Giancarlo Stanton.
If asked to participate, Gallo would speak with his agent, Scott Boras, about the pros and cons of the Derby and seek input from his employers.
It seems like the fatigue of the event would be more of a concern than Gallo losing his swing. That thing is built for hitting homers.
For sheer entertainment, not to mention web hits at Star-Telegram.com, here’s hoping he competes. For the second half of the season, maybe competing wouldn’t be the best thing for him and the Rangers.
3. Nomar Mazara hit a home run to start the fifth inning. That’s not too unusual for the second-year player, but what was unusual is that the lefty hitter went deep against a left-handed pitcher.
The blast off Francisco Liriano was Mazara’s first against a lefty this season. Only a month ago, there was talk of Mazara sitting against lefties if he didn’t strike on something.
He says he has. He didn’t say what, perhaps guarding against a bunch of advance scouts reading his quotes. That’s fine. The point is he is doing something about his struggles vs. lefties.
Mazara is nearing .230 against lefties, though he’s still stuck around .180 against lefty starter. That’s not great, but he feels he’s trending the right way.
“I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been working on some stuff,” Mazara said. “Yeah, I guess the last couple left-handers that I faced, I think I’ve done a pretty good job with it. So you just try to keep working on it, and hopefully I feel more comfortable.”
Nevertheless, he appears to be in a “soft” platoon situation like Gallo. Mazara didn’t face James Paxton on Friday or Dallas Keuchel on June 2. He did face Gio Gonzalez on June 10, striking out twice.
If his adjustments against lefties work, it would be the next step in his development. He’s already a very good player, all of 22 years old, and has a chance to keep improving.
That should make other AL teams nervous