The Texas Rangers limped into Comerica Park on Friday having lost three in a row at Toronto, two via the walk-off and one via the blowout, and were 1-3 on their seven-game road trip.
After Saturday, the Rangers are a win away from a winning road trip.
A sweep is only a good Martin Perez start away Sunday. Detroit is starting Justin Verlander, who locals (and statistics) say is a shell of his former self but, as memory serves, seems to pitch well against the Rangers.
The most important thing is that they teams play faster than the 3 hours, 14 minutes they did Saturday. Someone has a flight to catch.
Here is some Rangers Reaction from a 10-5 win Saturday:
1. Manager Jeff Banister was given a favorable report on the second rehab outing Friday by Yu Darvish, who Banister said touched 98 mph during his 50-pitch outing over three innings.
But nothing Darvish did gave the Rangers any motivation to announce a firm return date for the right-hander, who is in the final stages in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
Darvish was expected to return in mid-May to early June. If he needs only two more rehab starts, he could return May 21. If he needs three, May 27 is a target.
“He’s still in that window,” Banister said.
The Rangers need to fight off the urge to rush him back if A.J. Griffin needs a significant stretch on the disabled list.
In talking to Griffin, he seems inclined to take it slowly after missing the past two seasons. Shoulder woes got him in 2015, but he said that what he experienced Saturday is not even close to the problems he had last year.
That’s good, but it seems like a DL stay can’t be avoided. Pushing Darvish is easily avoidable. Chi Chi Gonzalez, Cesar Ramos, Nick Martinez or even Anthony Ranaudo will be just fine until Darvish is ready.
If Griffin goes on the DL, that takes care of the question of who loses his rotation spot to Darvish. But once Griffin is healthy, based on what he’s done so far, the Rangers might want to put him back in the rotation at someone’s expense.
Funny how these things always seem to take care of themselves.
2. Another day, another conversation about Rougned Odor staying or leaving the leadoff spot. And, again, signs point to him moving down in the lineup even though he hit his second leadoff homer of the season and his career Saturday.
The debate comes down to this to Banister, the guy who makes these decisions: Would the Rangers be better served atop the lineup with a free-swinger who doesn’t have a high on-base percentage but has nice power or a on-base machine who has nice power?
The answer is Shin-Soo Choo, who will come off the disabled list in 10 to 14 days. With him on base more consistently than Odor, who’s been on base a lot of late, the Rangers will have more scoring chances, and Odor will have a better chance to do more damage behind the heart of the order.
A single run is nice, Banister said, but three or four runs are better.
With Choo being considered for the leadoff spot and Drew Stubbs on the roster, the clock could be ticking on Delino DeShields, even though he has done some good things the past few games. But he’s batting only .221, and his defense, while improved, isn’t that much better than Ian Desmond’s or Stubbs’.
But a lot can happen in 10 to 14 days, just like something might have happened to the starting rotation Saturday.
3. After walking out of the clubhouse bathroom with a Ron Washington-looking hairdo, Rangers hitting coach Anthony Iapoce turned and yelled something to the effect of, “It shouldn’t take this for you guys to do that.”
The “this” was a challenge Iapoce and assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore laid out — get 10 runs and 10 hits in a win and the Rangers hitters could do whatever they wanted to their coaches’ hair.
The “that” was the 10 runs on 10 hits the Rangers produced against the Tigers. Five of the hits were homers.
Iapoce was right. It shouldn’t take a silly challenge to spark the Rangers’ offense. But he was also right in putting up a challenge to try to get the Rangers going.
Maybe it will be the start of an impressive run for the offense or help make them more consistent, though opposing pitchers always have the final say. Most of the Rangers’ hitters showed some life, and they all reveled in getting to go to barber college.
“They were talking about it the whole game once we put up that five,” Iapoce said. “Adrian and everybody were going back and forth saying, ‘Get ready. Get ready.’ You don’t know who to root for. ‘OK, nine will be good.’ ”
Iapoce got the worst of it, Washington-style cut. Mashore ended up with a complete buzz, save for a dollop of hair near the forehead, for a quasi-Hare Krishna look.
“That was awesome,” said shortstop Elvis Andrus, the mastermind of the Washington hairdo.
“He made us a bet if we scored 10 runs and 10 hits, we could do whatever to his hair,” Beltre said. “Actually, he looks good. I’m trying to be nice.”
Beltre should be. Maybe that silly challenge is what makes the Rangers’ offense more consistent.