My 5-year-old son has reached a milestone, at least in my eyes, as he has officially announced that he has a favorite baseball player.
It’s Adrian Beltre, the Texas Rangers star who is being honored this weekend at Globe Life Park. The ceremony Friday commemorating his 3,000th hit included a video of baseball greats, many from the Dominican Republic, and among those who spoke on the field was Rangers Hall of Fame Michael Young.
It was nice, though somewhat unusual with Beltre being injured, and it ended with Beltre saying a few humble words right after he accepted a new Polaris all-terrain vehicle as a gift from the Rangers. The guess here is that his three kids, especially his son, was more excited about the ATV than Beltre.
Beltre is not excited about the current state of his left hamstring, which after eight days isn’t responding to treatment the way he had hoped. Maybe he’s just keeping everyone’s expectations, including his own, low in case he can’t return, but it looks like he won’t return this season.
That probably won’t sit well with my son, though I’m not sure how much Rangers baseball he’s seeing before he has to go to bed. The game Friday was in the fourth inning when the lights went out for the Wilson children.
They missed quite a rally.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from an 11-5 win over the New York Yankees.
1. If Martin Perez was ever going to win seven straight starts, he has picked a fine time to do it. If this is the best he can be, he has picked a fine time to be at his best.
Perez didn’ t let a four-run second inning, made possible in large part by a Rougned Odor error, ruin his night. Instead, the left-hander tightened things up and allowed only one more run over his final 3 2/3 innings.
The result was his career-best seventh consecutive winning start, which is tied with Kenny Rogers for the second-best streak in club history. Perez will make four more starts, and would be in line to start Game 1 of a potential American League Division Series at Houston.
That doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world, which is saying something considering where Perez was just before the beginning of his streak. Remember? He was tipping pitches, or so he thought, and his deliver needs revamping.
So did his confidence, and the big start he had Aug. 9 against the New York Mets was the start of what has happened over the past month. If his head is in the right place, he can be exactly what he is right now.
With Perez dealing, Andrew Cashner dealing and Cole Hamels capable of dealing, the Rangers have three rotation piece that can hold them together over the final 22 games. If the Rangers keep winning series, which Cashner has the chance to do Saturday, they could very well end up with a wild-card spot.
At the very least, the last week of the season is looking like it will include meaningful games, in large part thanks to Perez.
2. Robinson Chirinos looked like he could use a day off as he hobbled around the bases, and the thought was that Nomar Mazara might need a day off after he exited the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader early.
But this is September, when no one is 100 percent and when baseball games are very meaningful for their team. They are two of the Rangers’ best nine players, and the Rangers need all night the rest of the way.
Chirinos is a catcher, so his situation is a bit different. He might not play Saturday because it’s a noon start, even though he has reached base in 23 consecutive games. The change from a 7 p.m. start to accommodate TV might actually be something that works in the Rangers’ favor with another day off for their No. 1 catcher.
Mazara won’t be off. He has homered in three consecutive games for the first time in his career and is the team leader in RBI with 91. The quad issue he first felt Sunday and then again in the doubleheader is manageable, and the second-year player needs to manage it.
The Rangers can’t have too many big bats out, with Beltre unable to even swing a bat at this point in his recovery.
At least Chirinos could out run him.
3. The bullpen delivered 3 1/3 perfect innings, a stretch that started with Ricky Rodriguez striking out Aaron Judge for arguably the biggest out of the game. The game ended with Tony Barnette striking out Judge.
The hiccup/spit-up/upchuck from last weekend looks as if it’s the abnormality over the past three weeks. Rodriguez was right in the middle of it, as he had the two worst outing of his career.
His outing Friday was his best, as he snuffed out the Yankees’ last good threat in the game to end the sixth and worked a perfect ninth. Jake Diekman had another scoreless outing in the eighth, and Barnette struck out the side in the ninth.
Things have a chance to get better as soon as Sunday, with Keone Kela (shoulder) and Matt Bush (knee) on the mend. Each threw his third bullpen session in his recovery and might come off the disabled list if all feels right Saturday.
The Rangers could use those power arms. Kela had been their best reliever this season before his shoulder acted up for a second time, and Bush can simply be overpowering when he’s on.
It’s not known how they will be used right off the DL. Manager Jeff Banister might want to ease them in with an appearance in a lower-leverage situation. That’s how he wanted to ease Diekman back into the action, but instead used him in a very tight spot last weekend.
It went well. Maybe that’s the route for Kela and Bush.
However it happens, something is about to happen with them. The bullpen, even though it’s going relatively well right now, could definitely use them.