For some reason, after midnight following a game that went 11 innings and was played in 4 hours, 7 minutes, Ricky Nelson is on my mind.
As such, a few tidbits before getting to the meat of things:
The Rangers have hit 32 homers to 11 by their opponents in the past 14 games. Their record? 6-8.
Rangers relievers have allowed 13 of 17 runners to score in the past nine games. Their record? 3-6.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Monday’s 7-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox in 11 innings.
1. Jason Grilli commanded a large media throng around his locker on the first day of his second go-round with the Rangers, who are looking everywhere affordable for a possible solution for the bullpen woes.
Grilli, who entered with a 6.97 ERA after 20 2/3 innings, is thought to be the veteran presence the inexperienced bullpen is lacking. That hat-sized ERA is misleading, or that’s the hope.
In his one inning Monday, it sure looked misleading.
To label Grilli as the bullpen’s savior is far-fetched, though he can be of service if he pitches like he did in his 1-2-3 eighth inning. To think that his experience is going to turn all those blown saves into wins is unrealistic.
Maybe it helps at some point, but at which point?
It’s on the relievers to pick his brain, not for him to sit back and evaluate after more blown saves. Grilli doesn’t need to be in the video room looking for what is causing the problems.
The problem for Ernesto Frieri in the 11th as the bullpen took its 18th loss of the season was a walk to the No. 9 hitter, Tzu-Wei Lin. It doesn’t take a 40-year-old, 15-year veteran like Grilli to point that out.
Another problem for the bullpen was that Odor muffed Lin’s sixth-inning grounder that should have ended the inning but instead opened the door for three unearned runs as Tony Barnette allowed all three runners he inherited from Martin Perez to score.
Manager Jeff Banister was quick to point out that the pitchers still have to make pitches, which is true. But the man who laments all the extra pitches and times the lineup turns over because of walks and mistakes was oddly unmoved, relatively speaking, by the Odor error.
Also in the 11th was an intentional walk to Dustin Pedroia to load the bases. After what Pedroia had done all game with his bat and his glove, no one should be crying about that one.
Banister, though, chose to play the infield in against Andrew Benintendi, who has bounced into only three double plays this season. At least there was an out to be had at every base.
Benintendi, though, sent a blooper just over the infield, an easy play for Elvis Andrus if he’s at regular depth. Instead, Boston scored two and won the game by two.
“I don’t think there’s anything in the book that says, ‘Play for a bloop,’” Banister said.
Banister then lamented the luck the Rangers had, as they scorched several balls and had a blooper that Pedroia tracked down. The Red Sox’s blooper fell.
“The game of baseball is very cruel,” Banister said.
2. There is talk of the Rangers trying to shop catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and even he understands the baseball implications behind it. With Robinson Chirinos playing well, he can take over the majority of the catching duties and Lucroy can fetch the Rangers a quality reliever to enhances their playoff chances.
It really does make sense, though a case can be made that it doesn’t make sense.
No position in baseball is as thin as catcher. The Rangers have two good ones, one of whom has proven to be prone to injures. Hint: It’s not Lucroy.
A trade of Lucroy would leave the Rangers with the injury-prone Chirinos and Brett Nicholas, a Triple A All-Star who showed well in the majors last year. The waiver wire would be a daily reading assignment. Brett Hayes and A.J. Jimenez would be a heartbeat away, so to speak, at Round Rock.
Jose Trevino might be on call at Double A Frisco.
It’s a troubling situation that might be made easier if the Rangers fall completely out of the wild-card race, and they are threatening to do that at 40-43. Lucroy won’t be the only one traded in that scenario.
But if the wild-card spots are in play by July 23, after the 10-game road trip to open the second half, the Rangers might have trouble pulling the trigger on a Lucroy trade.
It doesn’t appear that anything is imminent on a deal. What’s more imminent is that Barnette looked solid in the second inning of his first appearance off the disabled list, and Jeremy Jeffress was so good in a bullpen session Monday that he wants off the DL at once.
If those two finally live up to expectations, they will aid the bullpen. The question becomes if they can heat up before the enticing phone call is made to general manager Jon Daniels.
3. The Elect Elvis movement was in full-force Monday, as fans were urged numerous times by the Rangers’ social-media team, by Rangers players and by in-game announcements by Chuck Morgan to cast their votes in the Final Vote to get Andrus to his third All-Star Game.
His play on the field should be helping his cause. Maybe the Red Sox Nation will take note and feel compelled to act.
Andrus doubled in his first at-bat Monday to run his hitting streak to six games with a .370 average. He has hits in 14 of his past 15 games for a .354 average with a .400 on-base percentage and a .600 slugging percentage.
With his average back above .300, though just .301, and with 11 home runs and 50 RBI, he’s been his team’s best player and is deserving of the All-Star nod. He looks to be the latest example of a late bloomer, albeit in his prime years.
How much would a team pay for a shortstop who hits .300 with 20 homers, 90-100 RBI and 30-40 steals? If Andrus does that, which he is tracking to do, that contract of his doesn’t look so bad.
It looks pretty good, at least for a year.