The fans here sure have it in for Jonathan Lucroy, who opted to accept a trade to the Texas Rangers last year after first nixing a deal that would have sent him to the shores of Lake Erie.
Some Cleveland Indians fans on Twitter have stood up to say they are glad Lucroy turned them down. After all, the Tribe went to the World Series and was able to keep its top catching prospect.
However, the fans at Progressive Field have booed Lucroy at every turn, conveniently forgetting that their general manager told Lucroy that there were no guarantees he would catch full time this season as he headed into free agency.
Their honesty helped convince Lucroy to nix the trade from Milwaukee.
At one point in the seventh inning, fans got a kick out of Lucroy spiked a throw to second base into the ground. The throw was basically a grounder to shortstop. One thing: Had Lucroy gone through with the throw, he would have struck Roberto Perez in the head with the ball as Perez, a catcher who should have known better, stepped in front of a catcher.
Lucroy didn’t slight the city, which is on the upswing after holding the Republican National Convention, last year. Downtown Cleveland has some quality restaurants (Red, Mabel’s) and bars, and not even the Brown stain of the NFL team can take away that Cleveland has turned the page from its tough past.
He didn’t slight the Indians, who were going to slight him going into his last/only chance at a big contract. It was a business decision.
So, for those whose still have it in for Lucroy, get over it.
Here’s some more Rangers Reaction from a 5-3 loss.
1. Give the Rangers credit of late for trying to find the right mix of relievers with injuries to Tony Barnette and Jeremy Jeffress, and with ineffectiveness rampant in the bullpen.
They need to get that blender back out.
Ernesto Frieri and Dario Alvarez allowed two runs in the seventh inning, turning a 3-1 deficit into 5-1. Frieri walked the first two batters, which is inexcusable, and an intentional walk put Alvarez in a favorable left-on-left matchup.
The lefty specialists, though, failed again as Michael Brantley lined an RBI single to left field. The next hitter was not left-handed. It was Edwin Encarnacion, who also singled to left to plate another run.
That Indians’ two-spot was key as the Rangers rallied for two in the ninth.
Barnette will likely get a chance in that situation as soon as he’s activated from the disabled list, perhaps as soon as Saturday. He threw a scoreless inning Tuesday for Triple A Round Rock and is scheduled to throw two innings Thursday.
Jeffress is still a few weeks away because of a back strain. The Rangers aren’t counting on him until after the All-Star break.
The Rangers are busy evaluating what they have in the minors, and they seem most intrigued by a group at Double A Frisco that includes left-hander Brady Feigl and right-handers Nick Gardenwine, Reed Garrett and Connor Sadzeck. Round Rock lefty Ryne Slack and righty Sam Wolff are also on the radar.
Once the rotation is back to full strength, starters Austin Bibens-Dirkx and/or Nick Martinez could be considered.
If the Rangers want to go get a lefty to replace Alvarez, and they absolutely should, Feigl could have the edge. Acquired in December for Luke Jackson, he has had two shaky outings since being promoted from High A Down East, but has allowed one run or less in 5 of 7 outings.
Slack, though, has the support of some respected coaches in the system.
General manager Jon Daniels said that a reliever from outside the organization isn’t yet on the front burner because to acquire one now (spitballing here: Pat Neshek, Brad Hand, Justin Wilson) would be cost prohibitive. The Rangers aren’t exactly as flush with prospects as they have been the past two years, either.
Frieri, while not effective enough Wednesday, should be given a chance to stick around. He’s the most veteran of the relievers, and he’s been in the thick of bullpen chaos before. He has resources that most others in the bullpen don’t have.
There’s value in that.
Nevertheless, the Rangers need to get that blender back out to find the right relief mix.
2. Manager Jeff Banister had the following to say about right-hander Yu Darvish, who allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits in six innings:
“That’s a solid outing, in my opinion, by Yu.”
The right-hander struck out six, walked only one, and threw 69 of his 101 pitches for strikes. He also left without any tightness in his right triceps and without any tightness in his brain about the right triceps.
Darvish admitted that he was mindful of what he felt Friday at Yankee Stadium because it was similar to the sensation he felt prior to learning that he needed Tommy John surgery in 2015.
Anyone who has had a major operation can probably relate to the injury still creeping into their mind even after a significant stretch of time has passed.
He said that his thoughts didn’t affect his pitching, and he became more at ease when he pumped a 96-mph heater past Encarnacion to end the fifth. He now seems confident in the triceps going forward and isn’t feeling anything like he felt last week.
Darvish was undone by not having the usual command of his two breaking pitches. That will come back. The Rangers were encouraged by how well he threw his two- and four-seam fastballs, with Banister saying the sinker was as good as it’s been all season.
The strike percentage should also be encouraging.
So, Banister is right. It was a solid outing — with much to build upon.
3. If there is one more difference this series between the Rangers and Indians, aside from the bullpen, it’s the defense played by the two teams. The Indians benefited Monday and again Wednesday from minor lapses by Rangers fielders, and then made a critical play that kept them in the lead.
Banister pointed out a third-inning double play that didn’t get turned. Encarnacion’s soft liner skipped into Elvis Andrus’ glove at shortstop, and he looked to the runner at third before flipping to second base to start a double play.
Rougned Odor took the throw for one out, but then also gave look, too long of a look, at Francisco Lindor, and Encarnacion beat the throw to first.
Two were on with one out instead of just Lindor at third with two down. That slight difference altered how Darvish attacked Jose Ramirez, who bounced a single into right field to plate Lindor.
The Rangers also looked to be slow in turning a first-inning double play, though Michael Brantley can still get down the line. The Indians didn’t score, but the extra batter that got to hit upset the apple cart all the way into the third.
Ramirez, though, didn’t miss his big chance in the sixth. Shin-Soo Choo was at second and Andrus was at first when Adrian Beltre sent a grounder down the third-base line.
It looked like it was headed down into the corner for a double that potentially could have tied the game, but Ramirez dived to stop it and then threw to first to get Beltre for the second out.
Even if only Choo had scored had Ramirez not stopped the ball, the Rangers would have had one run in and runners at second and third with one out. Even if the runners would have been stranded, a 3-2 game might have led to the Rangers going another route with the bullpen.
But it stayed 3-1, and the Rangers went to Freiri and Alvarez. We all know how that turned out.
Ramirez’s stop was the play of the game.