Globe Life Field is coming to Arlington in 2020. Texas Live! is supposed to open next season. If either is comparable to SunTrust Park and Live! at The Battery, Texas Rangers fans are in for a treat.
They are two separate entities, yet they come together in right field. Live! at The Battery includes restaurants, bars, a theater, shops and apartments. There’s also an Omni Hotel, which isn’t open yet, and multiple parking garages.
It was crowded Sunday night, a non-game day, and before the game Monday around lunchtime ahead of the Texas Rangers’ first game in Atlanta since 2011. It’s a compact area, yet doesn’t feel crowded.
The ballpark is still shiny and new, having opened in April. It feels cozy, unlike other newer ballparks. There is no shortage of food choices, including a full-service Chick-fil-A. Just a hunch, but there’s probably no shortage of beer choices.
This is the benchmark the Rangers, the city of Arlington and the architects need to meet.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from what happened inside the ballpark, an 8-2 Rangers victory over the Atlanta Braves.
1. Andrew Cashner has been the Rangers’ most consistent pitcher all season and, therefore, is arguably their most dependable pitcher as they try to capture one of those two wild-card spots.
As of Monday, they are back to only two games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second spot and five games behind the New York Yankees for the other spot. Guess who comes to Globe Life Park this weekend?
And Cashner will face Saturday the Yankees after allowing two runs in six innings against the Braves. He said that he felt some fatigue during the start but still managed to throw 101 pitches and post his 15th quality start of the season.
It took him some time to get his fastball where he needed it, but his breaking pitch and changeup were good enough to give him the time to do that. That’s a veteran for you, and something that he and Cole Hamels are able to do fairly regularly.
That has turned into a fine 1-2 punch for the Rangers in the second half. They are going to pitch as often as possible, with the Rangers attempting to skip the No. 5 starter one more time this season.
Neither Nick Martinez or A.J. Griffin will be needed until Sept. 12, assuming the other four starters don’t need an extra day. Maybe Cashner will after his curious comment about being somewhat tired, but the safe money is on him being fine for Saturday.
The bullpen should be fine for Tuesday after the Rangers built a six-run lead and saw their relievers do their job. The Nicks, Gardewine and Martinez, combined for three scoreless innings after Cashner exited, and the overworked Alex Claudio, who apparently has been dealing with a stomach bug, and others (Tony Barnette, Jake Diekman, Ricky Rodriguez) should be available the next two games.
That was as big of a takeaway from the victory Monday as anything else.
2. The case against Jurickson Profar being called up to finish the season struck me as a tad weak.
General manager Jon Daniels said that it has nothing to do with adding to Profar’s service time.
There aren’t enough at-bats to go around, with the guys who have brought the Rangers this far getting the chance to take them to the finish line. OK.
The Rangers wanted bench players, part-timers who know how to sit and to fill a role. They didn’t want full-time players, like Profar, Willie Calhoun and Ronald Guzman, and believe Jared Hoying, A.J. Jimenez and Will Middlebrooks make them better.
That’s the reasoning that makes the least sense when it comes to Profar.
All Profar has done, basically, in the majors is play part-time. He hasn’t done so very well, as a Rangers source pointed out, but he has had a knack for delivering pinch hits and is dependable on defense.
He can also play well all over the infield, particularly shortstop. So can Phil Gosselin and Drew Robinson, the Rangers countered. Maybe, but they’re not as good at shortstop as Profar.
The example I threw at Daniels and manager Jeff Banister went like this: Say Elvis Andrus stubs his big toe and has to miss two or three games. Wouldn’t Profar be the best option to fill in?
Yes, Banister said, but it’s not as simple as just plugging in a guy. Besides, two players won’t kill the Rangers there.
The Rangers, though, aren’t in a position where they can’t just be adequate at a position. Robinson has been OK with the bat but has one career inning at shortstop. Gosselin’s bat seems lacking, while he has more experience at shortstop.
Profar can hit and play well there. If every game means something to the Rangers’ postseason hopes, it doesn’t seem the wisest decision to keep the best option at shortstop off the club.
Granted, Andrus is as durable as they come. But you never know.
Calhoun doesn’t really have a position to play and didn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster, so the centerpiece of the Yu Darvish trade will have to bide his time until spring training.
Guzman, who had another big season, this time at Triple A, isn’t going to take at-bats away from Mike Napoli, who, like Odor, has struggled with everything except homers. But he’s done it all season, so he gets a chance to finish things off.
Profar won’t get a chance to do anything.
3. Speaking of Odor, Daniels said a couple interesting things about the second baseman, who is locked up until 2022. Topping the list is that Odor doesn’t have an endless rope when it comes to the club doing something about his woes.
The Rangers sent him down in 2015 after he struggled mightily to open the season. They didn’t make such a move this season, and it became too late to do it when the struggles persisted.
But Daniels didn’t sugar coat the season Odor has put up. The homers have been there, but the overall production isn’t where the Rangers expected. When Daniels spoke of more than one way to handle a struggling player, maybe he was doing just that and sending a message.
He didn’t call out Odor, by saying the Rangers’ mediocre season is on his shoulders, but he didn’t let his struggles slide.
Odor was 2-for-20, 3-for-35, 4-for-45 and 5-for-51 over the past 13 games before a second-inning double and a two-run homer in the fifth that countered the two runs the Braves had just scored. In between, he delivered a sacrifice fly.
Afterward, he said that his lack of focus has been a problem this season. When he’s dialed in, he does well, like Monday and a few other times during the season. When he doesn’t, well, you have the rest of the season.
Odor heating up is part of the equation that will help the Rangers survive without Adrian Beltre, who didn’t make the trip for this three-game series. Napoli, in a slightly worse funk than that, needs to get going, too.
If they do, good for them and good for the Rangers. It might not be enough. It might not have been enough had they been productive from Day One.
Then again, with the wild-card race so darn tight, it might have.