The sweatiest press box in baseball is at Camden Yards, where the view is great but there are no windows and no way to keep out the humidity and summertime temperatures.
That’s fine. After all, the Texas Rangers beat writers are spoiled by windows that don’t open to keep all that sweet, sweet air conditioning inside. The new stadium likely will be an open press box, but the roof and AC will still be in full effect.
Temperatures on Monday, though, were cooled by a little shower than prevented teams from taking batting practice.
Maybe that was the Rangers’ problem.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
1. Most believe the Rangers’ playoff fate and their buy-or-sell deadline fate will be determined by their starting rotation, and the recent evidence suggests they are in good hands.
Andrew Cashner was the latest starter to give the Rangers a chance, leaving them 4-for-4 in that department in the second half and 8-for-8 dating to the homestand to close out the first half.
Cashner has had a hand in two of those, one a win and one Monday’s loss. He’s allowed five runs (three earned) in 13 2/3 innings, and his sinker has been a devastating pitch.
He has the look of the pitcher the Rangers have coveted and believed would take off with pitching coach Doug Brocail.
Tyson Ross gets his chance to keep the starters’ streak alive Tuesday, and even he hasn’t been as bad as his ERA, inflated by one miserable June inning in his second start off the disabled list, would suggest.
It remains confounding that the Rangers have lost nine of the past 10 games started by Yu Darvish, who has been plagued by a lack of run support worse than Cashner was Monday.
Everyone expects that the offense, which has been lousy since the All-Star break despite a 2-2 record, will come around and start giving the starters some needed support. The starters are certainly pitching well enough to make it easy on the offense.
Yet, somehow, the Rangers managed only one run on two hits against Chris Tillman. His ERA entering his first start since June 30 was 7.90 and is still a ragged 7.20. Every squirrel finds an acorn, I guess, and Tillman has been an All-Star.
The Rangers, though, need to figure out how to hit away from Globe Life Park, where they hit more than 40 points better. If their starters are going to give them a chance, as Cashner did Monday, the batters need to make good on it.
2. Manager Jeff Banister has his hands full right now at first base, with Mike Napoli working a hot bat and Joey Gallo deserving to play. The last thing Banister needs is adding Chris Carter to the mix.
But the Rangers have interest in the slugger, released by the New York Yankees, as a depth piece in case Napoli or Gallo land on the disabled list or join the Peace Corps. Napoli (back) has been on the DL this season, and Gallo (left hamstring) has flirted with it.
Carter is a combination of the two — a slugging first baseman (Gallo and Napoli) who bats right-handed (Napoli), is tall (Gallo) and strikes out a ton when not hitting homers (Gallo and Napoli, again). Carter is more experienced than Gallo, but not as versatile, and not nearly as experienced as Napoli.
A source said that the Rangers are not pursuing Carter to replace Gallo, who continues to hit below .200 and hasn’t homered since June 30. The Rangers will benefit in the long run from keeping Gallo in the majors, even as he struggles.
Gallo still isn’t short only confidence despite having the lowest average among MLB qualifiers. As long as he’s not lost at the plate — as his third-inning walk would suggest — there’s no harm in keeping him in the majors even if his playing time is reduced.
He’s the future, which the Rangers are building toward while also trying to build a wild-card winner.
3. When teams aren’t scoring runs, the little things turn into big things. There were three little things Monday that came up big after the loss, and each is worth a look.
Jonathan Lucroy thrown out at third to end the second inning: Neither Lucroy nor Banister had a problem with this one. Lucroy had driven a ball into right-center field, and the ball shot past Adam Jones as he slid to stop it and try to keep Drew Robinson from scoring. After Robinson crossed home, Lucroy was out on a close play at third.
“It was a bang-bang play,” Banister said.
It was, and the Rangers considered challenging it. Lucroy hadn’t seen the replay after the game, but he was told he was out and accepted it.
“It’s not like I was out by 10 feet,” Lucroy said. “I was out by 6 inches.”
There were no guarantees that he would have scored had the been safe or stopped at second. Gallo was due next, and the only thought is that Chris Tillman might have been on the verge of unraveling and one more batter might have done it.
Verdict: Not a big thing.
Wellington Castillo safe at second with two outs in the seventh: Castillo is a catcher and runs like one, so when he challenged Robinson on a hit to left-center field, it appeared he would be out. Shortstop Elvis Andrus cut the throw and had so much time to get Castillo at second that he lobbed the ball to Rougned Odor. Odor never saw it, and Castillo was safe. He scored on the next play.
The Orioles had just taken a 2-1 lead, and an out at second would have ended the inning and prevented the Rangers from going to the bullpen.
Verdict: Big thing, because ...
Jeremy Jeffress misses his location with an 0-2 fastball, two outs, seventh inning: This happens more than people realize, and pitchers know how often they get away with missing their spots. Jeffress didn’t get away with this one, a center-cut fastball that Ruben Tejada deposited into right field to score Castillo.
The Rangers were still trailing, at 3-1, but a one-run deficit is far different than a two-run hole. Brad Brach wasn’t exactly crisp in the ninth, when the Rangers brought the go-ahead run to the plate with two outs. Robinson popped out.
Brach, though, also knew he had some cushion to work with. Maybe in a one-run game he sweats a little more and makes a mistake while trying to be on the attack. Jeffress’ missed spot didn’t give the Rangers a chance to find out.
Verdict: Big thing.