ANAHEIM, Calif. — The tarp made an appearance Thursday morning, afternoon and late night at Angel Stadium, where rain is expect to fall throughout the weekend.
Rainouts in Orange County are rare. The one they had in July was the first in franchise history to not fall in March or April. Rainouts are also an enormous pain in the behind with the postponed game needing to be played at some point, the sooner the better.
Though only four games into the season, it feels like the Texas Rangers could already use a day off.
Instead, they are in the midst of playing 14 consecutive days to start the season, tied for the second-longest opening stretch in franchise history and only the third instance to start a season with a stretch of at least 14 in a row.
Each of the four have been interesting, and Thursday’s was no exception despite being the tamest so far.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction to their 4-3 loss.
1. Derek Holland’s work ethic vs. his public perception remains a story and could be found in the Star-Telegram and at star-telegram.com for at least the second time in two months and possibly two other times.
It’s not a new story, though this year it comes with the wrinkle of being in the final guaranteed year of his contract. The Rangers have club options for the next two seasons, and if they are going to exercise either of them, he needs to have good seasons after two injury-marred campaigns.
Holland was good but not great Thursday night against the Angels. His only two walks came in the fifth inning, and both ended up turning into runs. He pitched only five innings, which put the bullpen in the unenviable position of having to be perfect.
It wasn’t, though the relievers didn’t pitch poorly.
What Holland did accomplish was leaving the start healthy, which is more than he can say about his first start in 2015, and he felt mostly good about the way he pitched. Those two elements are things he can view as positives as he marches on in an important season.
2. Manager Jeff Banister pointed at Holland’s short outing and the offense’s like of fire power as bigger factors in the Rangers’ third straight loss Thursday than the bullpen, which also took a third straight loss.
Banister said that the offense needs to get going. It’s not just one or two guys who are dragging the lineup down, though Delino DeShields and Rougned Odor could be the players Banister has in mind.
DeShields is hitless in nine at-bats this season, though he has reached five times. Odor is 1 for 14 after an 0-for-4 night Thursday that included a seventh-inning popup to the catcher with runners at the corners and no outs.
One run ended up scoring and tying the game, but an Odor hit in that situation could have led to a crooked number.
It’s not yet time to compare Odor’s slow start to the one he endured in 2015. That one got him sent to the minors to work on his approach. He has seemed comfortable at the plate so far, trying to take what is being pitched to him and not getting too impatient.
That approach will get him going and maybe the Rangers along with him.
.043 The combined batting average for Delino DeShields (0 for 9) and Rougned Odor (1 for 14) so far this season
3. Overshadowed by the loss was the terrific defensive game turned in by third baseman Adrian Beltre on his 37th birthday. He took away two hits with diving stops, picked a soft liner just before it hit the ground and started a critical double play in the eighth inning.
Earlier, he had received some nice gifts from his family and some cake from his teammates. However, he did not receive a contract extension from the Rangers, and didn’t seem pleased to be addressing that on his birthday.
Beltre dropped the word “respect” into the conversation, as in he is due the respect of at least having an offer to consider accepting.
The Rangers might be having reservations about extending Beltre’s contract, but I’m guess that they last thing they want to do is give Beltre any reason to believe that he is being disrespected.
Adrian Beltre has 413 career home runs, good for fifth all time among players who played the majority of their games at third base. Fourth on the list is Darrell Evans at 414.
4. So, A.J. Griffin will start Friday night for the Rangers, who finally gave up on trying to find someone better after leaving Griffin in a lurch for a week.
The right-hander is from the San Diego area, so he is expecting many family members to make the trip up I-5 to Angel Stadium to watch his first big league game since Sept. 24, 2013, at, oddly enough, Angel Stadium.
Someone on the 25-man roster is going to be put on an airplane to join Triple A Round Rock to make room for Griffin. The clear choice entering Thursday was right-hander Phil Klein, but the bullpen’s workload Thursday night might lead the Rangers to stay with eight players in their bullpen.
It is extremely unlikely that Griffin is going to throw a complete game. Banister would probably do cartwheels if Griffin went six. Another five-inning start is a possibility in a game in which the bullpen will be thinned out.
Sam Dyson almost certainly won’t be available after getting four outs each of the past two games. Keone Kela and Shawn Tolleson might not be, either, after pitching in two straight.
That would leave Jake Diekman, Tony Barnette and Klein fresh after not working Thursday, and Tom Wilhelmsen and Andrew Faulkner he’s probably have an inning in them after pitching Thursday.
Klein would provide insurance against a short Griffin start.
A position player with options would have to go to the minors if the Rangers decide to keep Klein. The right-handed-hitting Ryan Rua might be that that player, with the Rangers potentially only facing one left-handed starter over the next 10 games.
The Rangers have multiple decisions to make Friday, including finding a 40-man spot for Griffin. Alex Claudio seems like a candidate, though his quirky left-handed delivery and soft-tossing arsenal are viewed by some as a nice fit as a change-of-pace arm in a bullpen with many hard throwers.