The Texas Rangers’ best game of the season, complete with quality starting pitching, good offense and as-expected work from the bullpen, was essentially forgotten Saturday night after the injury report was announced.
Robinson Chrinos has a broken right arm, and Shin-Soo Choo has a strained right calf. No word was given on how long they will be out or which players from the minor leagues will replace them.
The good news, I suppose, was the non-injury stuff that happened in the 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, who are now 1-4 this season and were lucky to get the one win.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Saturday night.
A lot of stuff you don’t control, and that’s part of the game. You can get injured at any time.
Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos
1. Chirinos’ broken arm has sent the Rangers scrambling at a position where they have little depth. Not many teams do have depth at catcher.
Chirinos was injured during a fifth-inning at-bat when a Garrett Richards fastball tailed inside and hit him as he tried to check his swing. Bryan Holaday, Mr. TCU and Mr. W.T. White, will take over primary catching duties.
The third catcher on the 40-man roster is Chris Gimenez, who is on the disabled list after a leg infection and is not able to play. Neither is Michael McKenry, who is still in Arizona dealing with an abdominal strain.
Brett Nicholas, who impressed during spring training, is almost certain to be called up from Triple A Round Rock but will need a 40-man spot. That can be accomplished by moving Chirinos to the 60-day DL.
There’s always a trade, though San Diego (Derek Norris) and Milwaukee (Jonathan Lucroy) are probably raising their prices right this minute. Jon Daniels isn’t one to knee-jerk, either, and he and the Rangers have the recent memory of Bobby Wilson and Gimenez carrying the catching load in August and much of September while Chirinos and Carlos Corporan dealt with injury.
Which outfielder will join the roster is a bit more of mystery.
Also a mystery? How will they get from Des Moines, Iowa, where Round Rock is opening its season, to Anaheim in time for a 12:35 PDT first pitch? Maybe Air Ray Davis can swing by and get them.
2. The Rangers are bracing themselves for the possibility that Choo, their right fielder and No. 2 hitter, is placed on the 15-day disabled list. Results of an MRI were pending late Saturday.
The severity of strains are on a graded scale — Grade 1, 2 or 3.
A Grade 1 strain requires a DL stint and would probably cost Choo about a month. A Grade 2 strain is worse, and a Grade 3 strain leads to amputation. I need to verify that.
While center fielder Delino DeShields is said to be the offense’s catalyst, no one gets on base as often as Choo does when he is going well.
If he needs to go on the disabled list for an extended stretch, Nomar Mazara becomes a candidate to replace him even though in spring training the Rangers were dead set on him staying in the minors as long as possible.
But, and this isn’t insignificant, Mazara has a spot on the 40-man roster. James Jones, Jared Hoying, Ryan Strausborger and Lewis Brinson do not. Too bad Justin Ruggiano was designated for assignment Friday.
Josh Hamilton hasn’t even faced live pitching yet, so he’s not an option.
The thought here is that Mazara won’t be the choice. The Rangers have faith in Ryan Rua’s abilities after a big spring. He played well in right field Saturday for Choo and had an RBI double.
Rua was the Opening Day left fielder a year ago. It wasn’t a platoon. He could become the right fielder, and one of Hoying, Strausborger and Jones could be the extra outfielder. Rougned Odor, meanwhile, would become the No. 2 hitter, as he was Saturday.
Then again, maybe Choo only needs a few days and the outfielder who comes from the minors is only with the team a few days.
That’s not the vibe the Rangers were giving off Saturday night, and they were lucky that shortstop Elvis Andrus wasn’t injured worse than just a couple scrapes when his left middle finger and thumb were stomped by catcher Carlos Perez on a play at the plate in the fourth inning as Andrus tried to score on Rua’s double.
3. A pretty good night for Cole Hamels and the bullpen. He needed 27 pitches in the first inning, when he allowed the tying run after the Rangers had staked him to a 1-0 lead. And that was pretty much it for the Angels.
He allowed only three hits over the next five innings. The Angels threatened a couple times, but Hamels got out of it either with a double-play ball or by getting Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. They were 0 for 6 against Hamels.
But the Angels pushed Hamels’ pitch count to 95, and with some of those stressful pitches on a cool night, Hamels didn’t go back for the seventh.
Instead, the bullpen took over and did what everyone expect it would be doing. Perfect innings were recorded by Keone Kela and Sam Dyson, and Shawn Tolleson worked around a Trout double with one out.
Hamels is now 2 for 2 in April, two starts, two quality starts that resulted in wins. That’s what he was hoping for when he altered his spring preparations by throwing all of his pitches out of the chute.
He said that it’s too early to tell if he has cured his April blues — not that he was terrible with an ERA just below 4.00 in the first month. But it is his worst month, and he might be correcting that.
137 Career RBIs for Adrian Beltre against the Angels, the fifth-most by an Angels opponet.
4. Hamels wasn’t the only player who had a nice game in the second straight victory. Of note were two other performances.
Adrian Beltre added offense to complete his opening week. His defense has been spectacular and was good again Saturday, but he also hit his first home run and doubled twice. Even the out he made, a first-inning double play, was a sharp one-hop grounder right into an infield shift.
The homer was No. 414 of Beltre’s career and tied him with Darrell Evans for fifth-most homers all-time among players who were primarily third baseman.
Tolleson rebounded from his meltdown Wednesday and in his inability to get the Rangers out of a ninth-inning jam Thursday with his second save of the season. Hands were probably wringing, including possibly in the Rangers’ dugout, but the closer who saved 35 games last season came through.
Stop worrying about the closer. There are more pressing issues after Saturday.