Here’s a little nugget from the Texas Rangers’ history books:
They hadn’t lost to a pitcher as old as Bartolo Colon – 44 years and 72 days – since Tommy John of the New York Yankees beat them July 5, 1988, at 45 years, 44 days.
Colon wasn’t great Friday, but he was efficient while giving up four runs on nine hits. He walked only one and needed only 106 pitches. That included 10 in the ninth, an inning Carlos Gomez spoiled with a two-out home run.
But the Target Field fans loved every minute of that inning. They watched a guy who looks like he could put a dent in any buffet line and is older than many of them toss nine innings.
Honestly, who doesn’t like that? Well, besides the Rangers?
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from an 8-4 loss.
1. The third batter of the game for the Twins was Joe Mauer, a shell of the player he once was. But he still has a knack for getting on base and is still good enough to put together a quality plate appearance.
That’s what he was doing in the first inning against Martin Perez, who threw a fastball in the strike zone on the 10th pitch of the matchup that plate ump Ryan Blakney just flat missed.
“It was a strike,” Perez said.
Instead of a strikeout and the second out of the inning, the Twins had two on with one out and a miffed Perez on the mound. He never recovered in the inning, and that ended up costing the Rangers.
“That’s a fair statement,” manager Jeff Banister said. “He felt like it was a strike. It was a borderline pitch, but you’ve still got to compete and keep your composure.”
Minnesota scored four times in the first on five hits, two of them homers, and two walks. Perez threw 40 pitches — 40! — in the inning, and only a double play by the No. 9 hitter with the bases loaded kept things from getting worse.
Perez allowed a homer to start the second before settling down. At one point he retired nine straight, but he couldn’t get the last out of the fifth. A two-run single by Eddie Rosario, a soft single but still a single, sent Perez to the showers down 7-3.
It was the latest stinker in a season that still hasn’t seen Perez at his best. At this point, it doesn’t appears as though anyone is going to see the best from him.
His ERA now sits at 5.46.
The biggest issue is that he isn’t the ground-ball pitcher he has been in the past. When he has needed a double-play grounder in past seasons, he’s been able to dial one up. He got the one to end the first, but could have used it much earlier.
Perez has allowed 16 homers in 21 starts and 117 innings. He allowed 18 last season in 198 2/3 innings.
Perez knows that he has a problem, but he doesn’t know why his sinker has abandoned him or why his changeup and slider have gone flat. With out the sinker, this is the pitcher he is and that’s not good for a Rangers team that will have three vacancies to fill this off-season.
2. Not everyone was mystified by Colon. Really, not many were, as he allowed nine hits, but especially not Elvis Andrus.
The shortstop collected three doubles, tying the team record done 33 times previously. The 3-for-4 game lifted his average back to .295, five points shy of the only goal he seems to have.
Yes, he already has 15 home runs, nearly doubling his previous career-high. The likelihood that he hits 20 is high.
Imagine him hitting .300 with 20 homers. Nobody could have imagined either before last season, when he batted a team-best .302 for the first .300 season of his career after a disappointing few seasons.
Those campaigns were made even more disappointing by the hefty salary he was collecting.
He’s still collecting it, but he’s making it look not so bad. If he pops 20 homers and bats .300, it starts to look like a bargain.
And then it puts him in a position to exercise the first of two opt-out clauses in his contract. Talk about something that seemed unimaginable only a few seasons ago. It was unimaginable at the beginning of this season.
But it becomes a possibility if he can put together another solid season in 2018. Three straight good ones by the age of 30 could make him attractive to another team.
Would he get a raise that would make giving up what he has in Texas worth it? That’s where it gets tricky.
There are only a few teams that could do it, but those clubs — namely the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox — are already stocked at shortstop.
Were Andrus to opt out, he might find himself with only one suitor, the Rangers. They might not want to go any higher than they already have, at $15 million a season, and it’s entirely possible that Jurickson Profar would be waiting to take over at a far more affordable rate.
Andrus is a smart guy. He’s a well-paid guy. He’s family man now. He has a chance to finish out his contract and stay with the Rangers beyond it, maybe for as long as he wants to play. If he does that, he’ll retire with the club record for hits and who knows what else.
I can’t see him risking that.
3. The negative vibes are easy to find on the Twitter these days when the Texas Rangers are playing. The Rangers fandom on the Twitter has given up on the season, many a long time ago and more this week after Yu Darvish was traded.
To that point, a harmless little tweet from me, which started with, the “Rangers are still playing for something,” riled up some folks.
Here’s the deal:
The Rangers — the coaches and the players — wholeheartedly believe that they can reach the postseason. In their minds, they are playing for something even if in a lot of other minds they have nothing left to play for this season.
What do you want them to do, quit?
The memory of 2015 lives on, and a large contingent of players from that division-winning team remain on the roster. Good players. Great players. All-Stars. A future Hall of Famer.
Darvish was not one of them.
The holdovers been around long enough to know that anything can happen, that deficits can evaporate, that teams can get hot, that front-runners can go cold.
Does it seem like all of that is going to happen? Heck, no.
Could it happen? Yes, and that’s why the Rangers keep showing up to work.
What do you want them to do, quit?