The threat of heavy rain and wrecking ball-sized hail probably didn’t have much of a role in the Rangers playing their fastest game of the season, in a crisp 2 hours, 19 minutes, but perhaps it did speed up play just a little.
If so, all weather forecasts going forward should included such dire scenarios, or as I saw for the first time Tuesday, a PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation).
First, it was the ridiculousness that is naming winter storms. Now it’s this PDS nonsense. Do the weather terms “tornado” and “large hail” not indicate danger?
Anyhoo, the Rangers won quickly.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from their 10-1 victory.
1. A.J. Griffin was the primary reason for the pace of play. Check that: Rangers staff ace A.J. Griffin was the primary reason for the pace of play.
Their No. 5 starter has arguably been their best starter, or at least some of the numbers bear that out. He’s 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA and .172 average against. Give me Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, but Griffin is starting to make a case that he should stick in the rotation once Darvish returns.
It still seems like a long shot, but the Rangers aren’t trying to skip Griffin as much as they were anticipating in spring training and even manager Jeff Banister said that Griffin is “making a case for himself.”
Griffin was a quality pitcher before his was injured in spring training in 2014. His 21 wins from the All-Star break in 2012 through the end of 2013 were tied for the seventh-most in the American League.
.172 Opponents batting average (17 for 99) this season against A.J. Griffin
He improved to 21-0 in 24 career starts when receiving at least four runs of support.
Griffin has maybe four more weeks before Darvish returns from Tommy John surgery. He could start as many as five more times. The Rangers will have a good enough idea on if he is worth keeping in the rotation at the expense of Derek Holland, Martin Perez or Colby Lewis.
But Griffin will have to continue to be good. He doesn’t have to be as good as he was Tuesday, though that wouldn’t hurt.
2. Darvish threw his fourth round of live batting practice Tuesday afternoon and opted to not speak with his friends in the media until after he gets a sense of how he feels and what he’s going to do next.
Banister played coy with the Rangers’ desires for Darvish, though they wanted him to be on a rehab assignment Tuesday night rather than throwing live BP. Darvish is a perfectionist and wants his off-speed stuff to be sharp when he faces minor-leaguers for the first time.
But another BP session of three “innings” and 45 pitches would be a waste of time. The Rangers need to make sure he understands that no one expects him to be perfect while operating on a new elbow ligament.
If he’s wants to wait until he’s perfect, it could be a long wait. The guess here is that he’s pitching Sunday for Double A Frisco. Of course, I thought Delino DeShields would be batting first Tuesday.
3. Rougned Odor was the leadoff hitter for a third straight game, and the Rangers scored a season-high 10 runs. Odor provided one of them, the final run with a solo homer in the eighth.
The spark of the offense was Nomar Mazara, who turned 21 on Tuesday. He had singles in his first two at-bats and scored each time. Banister said that Prince Fielder’s RBI single in the first with two outs might have given the Rangers’ a lift, too.
.365 Batting average for Nomar Mazara, which leads all American League rookies
Nine of their 10 runs came with two outs, including all five in the third. The first run came home on a bases-loaded walk to Ian Desmond, who stayed alive as plate ump Manny Gonzalez whiffed on what should have been a called third strike a pitch earlier.
But catcher Brian McCann was set up inside, and Luis Severino’s fastball was down the middle. It was a strike, but McCann had to reach across his body to catch it and could have fooled Gonzalez.
The Rangers weren’t complaining.
4. It was a tough day for fans of David Murphy, the former Rangers outfielder who has decided to retire.
But don’t feel down in the dumps for Murphy, because he’s not down after a tough decision. At the same time, though, he said it was an easy decision to spend the rest of his life with his wife and four kids.
When I reached him at his house in northern Tarrant County, he was playing Super Mario Bros. with his 5-year-old son. He’s looking forward to taking the kids to school every day and doing things that they haven’t been able to do the past 10 years since his 2006 debut with Boston.
.274 Career batting average over 10 seasons for former Rangers outfielder David Murphy, who has decided to retire
Murphy doesn’t need to work, but he will probably do something. He wouldn’t mind coaching a college team if not for all the travel. He’s had enough of that.
He also said that he expects to make his way to Globe Life Park on occasion, and he has an invitation to attend the June 23 Do It For Durrett event at the Globe. The Rangers would be foolish to not find a way to incorporate him into their alumni activities or maybe even ask him to counsel young players.
Murphy was a pro and a beloved teammate. Many minor leaguers would benefit from hearing him talk about how to go about their business.