Sunday marked National Sisters Day. I saw that on Twitter, so I know it must be true.
So, a shout-out to my sister, Jocelyn, is in order, as is an apology to someone’s sister in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
An 11-year-old girl performed the national anthem on Saturday at Target Field, and it was a slower rendition than normal. The duration of her version prompted me to tweet something snarky.
It didn’t go over well with one particular Texas Rangers reliever, who made a point to tell me so. He said that poking fun at a kid’s shining moment, before a crowd that pushed 27,000, doesn’t look good.
While her actual singing sounded good, he’s right.
So, to the young lady who might or might not have seen the tweet, my apologies. And Happy National Sisters Day.
The nameless reliever, by the way, did not pitch Sunday after the starter couldn’t hold a 5-0 lead.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
1. Don’t tell Adrian Beltre that the Rangers aren’t competing for a wild-card spot. He believes it and wants his teammates play like they believe it.
Most probably do, though they were all rattled by the deadline trade of Yu Darvish. Beltre, though, said that his job is to find a way to get the Rangers into the postseason for a third straight season, but it’s no easy task.
He did so Sunday, albeit in a losing effort. He swatted a three-run homer in the first inning and then willed himself to keep playing after taking a foul ball off the back of his head.
Beltre had two chances to drive in runs in his last two at-bats, grounding sharply into a fielder’s choice in the fifth with Shin-Soo Choo out at home and then seeing a liner to center picked off by second baseman Ehire Adrianza before it got to center field for the game-tying hit.
He looked fine at the plate after being struck by the Mike Napoli foul ball. The Rangers said it was a line drive, though Beltre said it was a one-hopper.
But Beltre went through the concussion protocol, took some swings in the cage and stayed in the game. A lesser man would have bowed out, but the playoffs are on the line.
He just had to convince his teammates of that.
That appears to be no easy task.
2. Joey Gallo has seen his batting average climb to .206 during a six-game hitting streak that has included five homers of at least 400 feet.
The power has been there and always will be, but it’s still a spectacle when he hits balls that even fans in opposing ballparks ooh and ahh over.
Such was the case in the first inning, when his two-run homer to right field went farther than his batting-practice homer during for the 2014 Futures Game that smashed the window of a car stationed there by a sponsor.
The Twins’ PR staff announced 438 feet. Statcast, yet again, wasn’t working. Former Twins outfielder Dan Gladden walked over from the radio booth to give his opinion.
All agreed that it went a long way.
Gallo has come a long way, too.
Nearly a year ago, in September, he could barely foul off a ball, let alone put one in play. Now, with a bunch of experience behind him, he’s telling hitting coaches the things they’re supposed to hear from a young hitter.
And Gallo is getting more hitterish. He was angry when his eighth-inning line drive as snagged by the shortstop. That’s right, of late Gallo has been hitting the ball as much to center field and left field as a pull to right field.
The swing is better than many say. It stays in the strike zone longer, and it’s flatter than people realize after seeing his high follow-through.
And, of course, he hits the ball hard and a long way when he does make contact.
How far always seems to be up for debate.
Thanks for nothing, Statcast.
3. Nick Martinez was unlikely to make another start before Tyson Ross returned from the disabled list, but if there was any opportunity for that to happen, he almost certainly wasted it.
Handed a 5-0 lead in the first inning, Martinez allowed four runs on two homers in the second inning and another run in the third on another homer. Only a fine catch in the fourth by center fielder Carlos Gomez kept Martinez from leaving behind in the score.
He left that for Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who gave up the go-ahead run in the fifth.
Martinez has been much better than last season, but the last two starts haven’t been his finest. And each one matters for him, with the Rangers’ rotation unsettled for 2018.
So, through the magic of off days, the Rangers can maneuver around that spot in the rotation until Ross is ready. Judging by his numbers Saturday for Double A Frisco, he’s ready.
The blister on his right index finger allowed him the opportunity to work on his delivery, which has been out of sorts since he returned June 16 after 15 months of dealing with injuries.
Ross is a big man. The bigger they are, the more difficult it is for them to repeat their mechanics. Throw in more than a season of being inactive and surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, and Ross hasn’t been able to get honed in.
There were encouraging signs of that Saturday, and he’ll be back in the rotation at some point in the next 10 days. That day hasn’t been determined, but he’ll be back.
Martinez will be back to Triple A Round Rock until the season ends, and then will be a September call-up. The Rangers still like him, especially at the price, and will give him a chance to be in the 2018 rotation.
It’s up to him to claim the spot.