The Silver Boot Series Presented by The Texas Lottery is under way, and that might be the only time that the official full name of the Texas Rangers-Houston Astros rivalry will be used in this space.
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It was a big night for the Foundation on Tuesday, as Chris Davis left behind multiple autographed items from him and fellow Baltimore Orioles stars Manny Machado and Adam Jones for the silent auction at this year’s event, and the Houston Astros contributed autographed balls of Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Biggio.
There was a game, too, but the skylarking from the left side of the Rangers infield seemed to steal the show.
Here is some Rangers Reaction from a 7-5 win.
1. Everyone in the Rangers’ dugout and probably everyone watching at home got a big laugh out of Adrian Beltre playfully chiding Elvis Andrus for breaking into a home run trot in the sixth inning on a ball that ended up hitting off the wall.
Andrus ended up with an RBI double, which is what he would have ended up with had he pulled a Usain Bolt out of the batter’s box. When asked about it afterward, Andrus was stunned to think that anyone thought Beltre was serious.
Maybe he was, a little, but nothing that is going to lead to a meeting with manager or anything of the sort. When Beltre was asked about it, he called Andrus an “idiot” and said what Andrus did was “ridiculous.”
27 Career home runs for Elvis Andrus, who thought he had hit No. 28 on Tuesday
“If you hit a ball decent but you’re not sure if it’s gone, why would you act like for sure you know the ball is gone,” Beltre said. “You look like an idiot at home plate. He’s just an idiot. That’s the bottom line.
“It was funny because I can’t believe he did that. You can’t pimp a homer — not a homer — pimp a ball like that when the ball didn’t leave the park. It’s just ridiculous. ... It’s a mess.”
The problem for Andrus is that he doesn’t hit enough homers to know what it feels like when he for sure has gotten a hold of one. Most in the press box thought he had left the building, just as was the thought on several balls throughout the game, but we’ve never hit any homers either.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened,” Andrus said. “He was playing around.”
Even though he thinks Beltre was acting in good fun, here’s betting Andrus hauls some butt next time he thinks he’s gone deep. Here’s also betting that Andrus gets his revenge the next time Beltre doesn’t bust it out of the box on a ball that ends up a double.
2. Derek Holland wasn’t great, but he was better than Scott Feldman and that was good enough in a game when he didn’t have his best command early. But Holland found a way to limit the Astros to two second-inning runs in the five innings he pitched despite a sense that the Astros were getting a read on his pitches.
Holland made no excuses and wasn’t accusing the Astros of doing anything dirty. But he and his teammates noticed that whenever he tried to go inside, the Astros might have been whistling to alert the hitter.
“I could be wrong, but I felt like they knew what was coming,” Holland said. “We could be totally wrong. For all we know, it could be coming from the stands. I’m not going to sit here and use that.”
Holland’s solution? Keep going after the hitters and make better pitches.
If he was tipping his pitches, that’s part of the game and something he will address.
105 Pitches in five innings Tuesday for Derek Holland, who improved to 2-0
Here’s something else he will address after three starts: Logging more innings. Holland has gone five twice this season and six the other time. The good news Tuesday is that he went short after two days off, so the bullpen was at full strength, and he did it ahead of Cole Hamels, who figures to go deeper Wednesday.
Holland fell behind too many hitters and struggled to put them early away when he was ahead. He finished with five strikeouts, but three of those were at the end of his outing.
The bottom line, though, is tough to argue. Holland is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA, and the Rangers are 2-1 when he starts. The loss was a walk-off at Anaheim. Holland is 3 for 3 in giving the Rangers a chance to win ballgames.
3. Holy smokes! The Rangers hit two homers in the same game!
Prince Fielder went way deep in the first inning, crushing a hanging 0-2 curveball from Scott Feldman back by the popcorn stand in right field, and Mitch Moreland just cleared the wall in right field with a line shot in the seventh.
It’s the first time this season that the Rangers have hit more than one home run in a game — in Game No. 14 — and they now have hit 10 on the season. Little Jose Altuve has five.
Yet, the Rangers are 8-6. They didn’t win their eighth game last season until May 2.
31 Point increase in Ian Desmond’s batting average after his first multi-hit game of the season. He’s now batting .140.
Ian Desmond, like Andrus, nearly went deep. His near miss was his second hit of the game, and they came after he was off Saturday, the Rangers were rained out Sunday, and had an off day Monday.
The swing and the timing were better Tuesday, said manager Jeff Banister. Desmond said that he felt fresh after the time off.
“I was able to get my legs under me,” he said. “I was able to look at some video without having to make an adjustment in going into the game. A lot of times for guys who play every day you don’t get a lot of time to digest and tinker. You’re doing it on the fly.”
Desmond didn’t play every day during spring training, plus he didn’t arrive until after full-squad workouts started. But he worked harder than anyone as he tried to learn a new position, and then he focused on trying to make a good first impression.
I’m exhausted just writing that. I think a pair of Adidas running shoes might help me with that.