Here’s a simple request most fans across baseball should be able to get behind: More throwback uniforms, please.
The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels went back in time 40 years for their unis Saturday night, and, man, they looked sharp.
The Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres went back Friday to the 1980s. It’s hard to beat those Phillies uniforms. The Padres? Well ... .
The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates honored the Negro Leagues two weeks ago.
Not everything was a throwback, despite Chuck Morgan’s finest efforts with the music, the Dot Race and the graphics.
The average time of game in 1977 for the Rangers was 2 hours, 43 minutes and 2:34 for the California Angels. On Saturday, the game hit the 2:43 mark in the seventh innings.
Maybe next time.
Here’s some more Rangers Reaction from a 5-2 victory over California/LA/Anaheim/LAA.
1. Tyson Ross certainly wasn’t Andrew Cashner or Cole Hamels, who worked at least seven innings and allowed no earned runs the previous two games, but like Cashner and Hamels he was the winning pticher.
Ross has made five starts for the Rangers, and they have won three of them and should have won a fourth. Giving his team a chance is the aim of every starting pitcher.
“Thus far, I’ve been able to put the team in a decent position in a couple of these games,” Ross said. “This is a talent squad here. With the rotation we have and the offense, it’s a good situation to be pitching in. I’m just trying to do my part.”
The right-hander allowed one run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings, but he continues to be mostly at odds with the strike zone. Sometimes that can work in a pitcher’s favor but eventually will bite him and his team.
Only 48 of Ross’ 94 pitches were strikes. He walked two and hit two, giving him 13 walks in 25 1/3 innings. His strike percentage is 56.5 percent.
There’s room for improvement, though the movement on his fastball can sometimes be difficult to harness, and he’s aware of that. But Ross also needs to be graded on a curve.
He started one game in 2016 and then was done for the season. He didn’t pitch again until two weeks. That’s 14 months, and that’s a long time to be out and just expect to have the same feel he had when healthy.
But it’s not like Ross was a premium strike-thrower before missing last season. He walked a league-high 84 batters in 2015 and walked 72 in 2014. His 14 wild pitches in 2015 were also a league-high.
Did I mention that fastball really moves?
“It typically has a lot of movement,” Ross said. “It’s a give and a curse sometimes.”
Ross survived in 2014 and 2015 thanks to 407 strikeouts and only 22 homers allowed, a by-product of his sinker, National League rules, and pitching at Petco Park in San Diego. Don’t be fooled by the Home Run Derby there last season, as Petco is a notorious pitcher’s park.
So, trouble could be lurking for Ross if he continues to put hitters on base. Globe Life Park is not the hitter’s paradise it once was, but the ball gets out much more often than in the Gaslamp Quarter. The pitcher doesn’t bat in the American League, so Ross is facing an extra slugger each time he starts.
Of course, time will tell. Ross has time to get as zeroed in as he can to the strike zone. So far, the Rangers have won three of his five starts and should have won a fourth.
Giving his team a chance is the aim of every starting pitcher.
2. Things got a little tense in the ninth, as they always seem to do.
Down 5-1, the Angels put runners at second and third with one out against Alex Claudio, the soft-throwing left-hander who continues to amaze.
The runner at second was C.J. Cron, a right-handed hitter who doubled as a pinch hitter while Jose Leclerc, a right-hander, was warming in the bullpen. Up next was the righty-hitting Cameron Maybin.
Claudio got Maybin, though a run scored, and then needed a sliding, spinning stop by Elvis Andrus on a Kole Calhoun grounder to end it and to keep Albert Pujols in the on-deck circle as the potential tying run.
No doubt Leclerc pitches if Pujols bats, right?
“Leclerc was ready to go,” manager Jeff Banister said.
The Rangers’ no-roles bullpen certainly seems to have picked up some roles. Jeremy Jeffress is pitching with leads in the middle innings, Matt Bush is working in the seventh, Claudio is working until there just isn’t an attractive matchup, and Leclerc and Jason Grilli are waiting behind them.
Things will move again after the All-Star break. Keone Kela is expected to be ready to come off the disabled list at Kansas City, and he could assume ninth-inning duty after an outing or two shows that his shoulder isn’t an issue.
The bullpen isn’t cured, by any stretch, but there appears to me more order down there than there was even a week ago.
3. Andrus returned to the Rangers’ clubhouse, and he sure looked like his wife had just had a baby.
His eyes looked like they could close at any moment, yet they were beaming and he was all smiles in discussing the first few days of Elvis Emilio’s life.
He was up to three diapers changed, or about one a day. He’ll have to pick up the pace there. He’s afraid of burping his son out of fear of striking him too hard. He drove home from the hospital at a much slower speed than normal.
Every parent has been there.
The best advice he has received from players who have children is to catch up on sleep on the road. Amen, though even that can be tough.
His return, which included another attempt to remove Adrian Beltre’s helmet and a subsequent shove from Beltre, led to Jurickson Profar being optioned back to Triple A Round Rock and Drew Robinson staying on the roster.
Robinson played left field for only the 14th time as a professional, though he did play there in spring training, and his two-run homer in the sixth provided some cushion for the bullpen.
“This organization has stuck with me, and a lot of people helped me get to this moment,” said Robinson, who homered in his last start, the first his career, June 24. “So, it’s pretty special to me, being able to do it with guys I came up with and doing it here in our home ballpark with the organization I’ve been with from the start.”
With right-hander J.C. Ramirez starting Sunday for the Angels, Robinson could find himself back in the lineup.