The temperature as A.J. Griffin took the mound for the sixth inning was 56 degrees, but thanks to a chilly wind, it felt like 52. On Aug. 3.
Rain soaked the Minneapolis area Thursday, and the sun never broke through the clouds. Even locals called the temps cold, and they know what cold is.
But it was dry, or dry enough at least, to get the opener of a four-game series finished. Temperatures are supposed to climb into the 70s for the weekend.
No one who lives in Texas is going to complain about that.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
1. Joey Gallo did it again. No, he didn’t break Statcast, but he did connect for a three-run homer in the fourth to snap a 1-1 tie.
The homer game A) against a left-hander and B) after the lefty had jumped ahead of Gallo 0-2. After taking a ball, Gallo found the first row of the upper deck above the .403 signing just to the right of center field.
The homer was No. 29 this season for Gallo, his seventh in the past 13 games and his four in the past three games.
He’s all but assured of hitting 30 homers in his first full season in the majors, but how high can he go? Forty seems to be completely within reach. Forty-five doesn’t sound outlandish, with two months to go.
That require him to hit 16 in the final 54 games. At the rates he’s going, I wouldn’t put it past him.
This is a young slugger who has spent the past four months learning and is now applying his new-found knowledge. He is seeing pitchers for a second and third time. They’re seeing him, too, but without the same results.
Gallo is going to strike out. Often. But he’s already started to be a better hitter, and that will continue the rest of the season.
He might never hit more than .250, but that will do just fine with 30-40 homers. Gallo has batted .300 at a few stops in the minors. That seems to be a stretch, but he’s only 23 and stands to get better as he continues to play.
But instead of getting ahead of ourselves, it’s best to enjoy what Gallo is doing now. He’s a one-of-a-kind hitter this season, and right now it’s hard to take your eyes off one of his at-bats.
2. Griffin stepped off the 60-day disabled list and looked as if he hadn’t missed a start, going six innings and allowing one run on two hits and a walk as the Rangers won their second straight game.
There was talk before the game about what the Rangers are going to do with their rotation after this series, as they have two off days next week to do some juggling. They might, but it would be a tough sell to skip Griffin after his sparkling return.
If the Rangers stay in rotation, Griffin would pitch Wednesday at New York against the Mets. Tyson Ross should be able to come off the DL next weekend, assuming all is well with the blister on his right index finger or whatever caused him to make another rehab start Saturday for Double A Frisco.
Maybe it’s the blister. Maybe he’s working on some things. Probably both.
That would leave Nick Martinez as the odd man out. Again. Manager Jeff Banister said that the season isn’t yet ready to be a tryout camp for 2018, so the need to see Martinez the rest of the season isn’t a priority.
It might be, as the Rangers continue on their roller-coaster ride of mediocrity.
Griffin’s in that 2018 picture, too, with the Rangers potentially having to fill three spots in the rotation. They should take a hard look at re-signing Andrew Cashner, a free agent in the off-season.
If they get distracted by Yu Darvish and Shohei Otani, Cashner could slip out of their grasp.
As a team that expects to contend in 2018, the Rangers could do a lot worse than Cashner.
3. Yu Darvish will make first start for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday and his first start since coughing up 10 runs July 26 in his final start for the Rangers, who traded Monday only minutes before the annual non-waiver trade deadline.
Anyone else curious to see how he does? Or is it just me?
After the 10-run meltdown and in the wake of the trade, he’s due for a good one. Right?
Here are a couple other things to keep an eye on:
Darvish will be facing the New York Mets for the second time this season. He pitched well in June at Globe Life Park, allowing three runs in 7 1/3 innings, and took a no-decision. Jay Bruce homered twice against him.
Good luck to Yasmani Grandal or Kyle Farmer or Austin Barnes, the Dodgers’ three catchers. Darvish can be a little particular with who catches him. Grandal is the regular, but expect a lot of mound visits and shake-offs from Darvish. Speaking of Dodgers catchers, Bobby Wilson is on their Triple A club. Darvish loves Wilson.
It’ll also be interesting to see if the Dodgers actually score some runs for Darvish, something the Rangers failed to do in most of his starts this season. The Rangers scored an average of 3.77 runs for him, fifth-worst in the league.