A few tidbits from the Texas Rangers’ 3-2 win Wednesday over the New York Yankees:
▪ The Rangers have had a starter go at least five innings in all 22 games to start the season, the most in the majors and one of only two teams, along with the Chicago Cubs (20), to have a starter go five in each of their games.
▪ Remember the dread created earlier this month when Shawn Tolleson blew a save? He now has seven saves, six since his early meltdown, and has allowed only one run in his past seven games.
▪ The key to Jake Diekman’s two perfect innings? “I came up here [to the clubhouse] and chugged a Red Bull. It got me pretty jacked up,” he said. Wonderful.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a second straight victory.
1. Martin Perez was kind of like he’s been all season — not awful but not dominant. There has been more good than bad, and that was again the case against the Yankees.
But this time — gasp — he and the Rangers won. Perez had been 0-2, with the bullpen letting him down two starts ago. The Rangers had been 0-4.
That’s not good. Overall, the Rangers say that Perez has been good.
He had perfect innings Wednesday in the first, third and fifth, and those were dominant frames. He made pitches in the even-numbered innings to minimize the damage. Twice he needed double plays, and twice he got them.
11 Double plays induced this season by Martin Perez, the most in the majors
That trait, the ability to make a pitch when needed, is something shared by all the starters and is part of the reason for their success. And there’s been success, as in 16 quality starts and having a chance to win each game.
That’s all the Rangers can ask of their starters. Perez has given them a chance every time, even when he surrendered five runs Friday in Chicago.
For the first time, the Rangers followed through on the chance Perez gave them.
2. Another off day has arrived, which means rest and relaxation for the Rangers and the dreaded off-day features for beat writers.
Rougned Odor thought he might go to the pool for part of his free Thursday. He deserves to bask in the sun or take a dip after two key moments in the 3-2 victory.
His two-out walk in the sixth against left-hander CC Sabathia, who entered holding lefty hitters to a .182 average, kept the inning alive for Elvis Andrus. He followed with a triple that drove in Odor with the game-winning run.
Odor made a big contribution with his glove on the game’s final play, racing from where he was positioned up the middle to keep a Starlin Castro grounder from sneaking into right field and driving in the tying run. Odor picked it up and threw to get Castro, who couldn’t believe that he didn’t get a hit out of it.
The difference between this April’s Odor and last April’s Odor is stunning. He could do very little right last year, which led to a May demotion to Triple A. He’s doing just about everything this month, showing his power, an ability to drive in runs and a flashy glove.
Of all the heralded, big-money signings the Rangers have made out of Latin America, the $425,000 bonus they gave Odor might go down as their best investment.
3. Bryan Holaday is fitting in just fine. He has already learned that when someone does something bone-headed, he better pay homage to Adrian Beltre.
Such was the case in the eighth inning, when after Diekman’s strikeout of Brett Gardner, Holaday raced for the dugout. The problem was that there were only two outs, not three.
Holaday’s first look was down to third base, where Beltre was looking back at him.
3 Outs in each half-inning of a baseball game
“I could feel him staring down my soul,” Holaday said.
He came from Detroit with strong recommendations about his personality from TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, who considers Holaday the model for all other Horned Frogs to follow, and Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler.
They knew they were talking about.
4. From Double A Frisco came word that right-hander Cody Buckel, a former second-round pick and a former top-10 Rangers prospect, was released to make room for fellow right-hander David Perez, another former top-10 prospect.
Perez lost his status because of Tommy John surgery in 2012. Buckel lost his status because he lost the strike zone in 2013 and has never been the same.
The yips first emerged in 2013 during what turned out to be Buckel’s crowning achievement, a non-roster invitation to big-league spring training. That season, he pitched 10 2/3 innings and walked 35.
Buckel had spurts the past few seasons when he would harness his wildness, but far too often he was out of the zone. Way out. While he hadn’t allowed an earned run this season, he had walked seven and struck out two in 4 2/3 innings.
His last outing was Friday, when he walked three while recording two outs, and the Rangers thought that it was just time to part ways after three years of searching for ways to get him back on track.
It just didn’t happen.