As weather forecasts go, the one for Tuesday night makes playing a baseball game seem somewhere between very difficult to highly unlikely.
There’s a 70 to 80 percent chance for rain, with some of the storms severe enough to produce large hail and tornadoes.
Maybe the Rangers could use a rainout, which they just had April 17. They weren’t slumping then, though. They were in the midst winning 5 of 6 games and four in a row to end the stretch.
The Rangers have since lost four straight, armed with an offense that has produced five runs in the past 38 innings.
The Durham Bulls were in a much deeper funk when they miraculously got their season-changing “rainout.” The Rangers aren’t that bad off — at least they’re getting good pitching — but they need something to spark the offense.
Here is some Rangers Reaction from a 3-1 loss Monday.
1. Nomar Mazara ruined a nice storyline for the media. His single to start the seventh inning was the Rangers’ first hit and ended a bid for a no-hitter by hard-throwing right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
What is Eovaldi’s hometown? Alvin. Who else is from Alvin and is right-handed and threw hard? Nolan Ryan, Mr. No-Hitter.
Eovaldi ran into a rookie on the last day of his 20th year, and Mazara slapped a grounder into left-center field for a hit that would have been a 6-3 putout if not for an infield shift.
Mazara said that he knew the Rangers were being no-hit, but wasn’t thinking that way when he stepped in. He was looking for a fastball, as Eovaldi’s slider was giving the Rangers fits.
“He was throwing a lot of breaking balls,” Mazara said. “We kept swinging at it. We didn’t make any adjustments. I knew he was throwing a no-hitter, but when I stepped in the batter’s box I was focused on what he was going to throw to me and trying not to chance and trying to stay on the fastball.”
Mazara didn’t sound like a 20-year-old in that answer, or a 21-year-old. His approach continues to separate him, even from players much older than him. Of course, it’s all downhill after 21.
2. The Rangers have issues atop their lineup. Delino DeShields was in a 2-for-20 funk entering Monday, and found himself at the bottom of the order. Things didn’t improve.
Rougned Odor was the leadoff man for a second straight game and was hitless, and the Rangers have scored two runs in those games.
It’s all about sequencing, manager Jeff Banister said, and who bats leadoff only matters at the start of a game.
Fine. But someone needs to spark the Rangers’ offense by somehow getting on base. DeShields can do that without getting a hit. When folks talk about Mazara’s approach and maturity at age 20, now 21, they were gushing about DeShields’ approach and maturity last year.
DeShields was 22 then and was the offense’s catalyst even after he turned 23 in August.
Here’s betting he’s back atop the lineup Tuesday.
Of course, it’s all downhill after 23.
3. So, Cesar Ramos. Not bad. He’s not going to bump anyone from the rotation after allowing three runs in six innings in a spot start for Cole Hamels. But he might bump someone from the bullpen.
Assuming Hamels starts Saturday, which seems more likely after a 26-pitch bullpen session Monday, Ramos will become the long reliever. The Rangers still have eight relievers, but that will have to give once either Shin-Soo Choo or Josh Hamilton is activated from the disabled list.
Alex Claudio, who has apparently has nine lives, would go to Triple A. Claudio survived Monday’s roster moves, with Nick Martinez going to Round Rock to continue working as a starter. That’s where he has more value.
Claudio has also survived getting hit in the junk by a line drive in spring training while not wearing a cup. The 60-day DL has also helped Claudio remain in the majors, not to mention the organization.
But some Rangers officials like Claudio’s funky delivery and change-of-pace frisbees that he sends floating toward home plate.
Not sure he can outlast Ramos, though. Then again, no one though he was going to outlast a liner to the junk.