Tuesday’s game marked the second Texas Rangers home game since Globe Life Park was given its five-year warning. Come 2021, assuming city voters do their part, the Globe will be a parking lot for a shiny new ballpark with a retractable roof across the street.
The bellyaching has outweighed support for the new building. The top trending story at star-telegram.com Tuesday was about lukewarm reception the proposed stadium, backed by taxpayer dollars, is getting nationally.
As if these people don’t have enough to worry about in their own locales. I can think of a few other national issues that should have people wringing their hands more than what the Arlington taxpayers are facing.
All, though, seem to agree that taxpayers will approve to extend the half-cent tax that is paying for AT&T Stadium. The people who actually run the 22-year-old stadium are feeling a sense of relief that a new ballpark has been proposed.
But probably not like the sense of relief Martin Perez felt after a scoreless sixth inning.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 4-1 win Tuesday over the Anaheim Angels.
1. Those who were just waiting for the Angels’ big inning against Perez, because he seemingly always has one inning per start that works him over, probably thought it had arrived in the sixth.
The first two hitters singled and were at first and third ahead of the Angels’ three best hitters — Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. The Rangers were up 1-0 but would have done well to exit tied.
Mitch Moreland took care of the runner at third, firing home on a Calhoun chopper to just get the speedy Shane Robinson. Perez then crossed up Trout, the perennial MVP candidate, and caught him looking with a slider.
After an intentional unintentional walk to Pujols, Perez got the hot-hitting Johnny Giovatella swinging to end the threat. Twice in the at-bat Perez dialed his fastball up to 96 mph.
It was his best pitching of the season, and he was rewarded by a two-run homer by Nomar Marzara. Perez entered with the third-lowest run support in MLB (2.15 runs per nine innings). Maybe he knew that to win he couldn’t allow any runs.
If so, mission accomplished Tuesday.
2. Quick: Who is the Rangers’ best player? Adrian Beltre.
Who is their best player right now? Ian Desmond.
The answer to both can’t be the 21-year-old Mazara yet, right?
He doesn’t have the experience the other two have or the hardware. No one has seen what Mazara will do to work out of a slump. Judging by his first seven weeks, he might never slump.
What everyone has seen is a player who puts together terrific at-bats, hits to all fields, runs the bases well enough, has a strong arm, and makes all the plays in the outfield he’s supposed to make and more than his share of ones he’s not supposed to make.
Mazara’s homer in the sixth, his seventh of the season and first at Globe Life Park, was a by-product of the energy Perez created with his escape act moments earlier. It was the knockout blow, a shot often delivered by a star player, a veteran player.
A team’s best player. That can’t be Mazara yet, right?
3. Those dreaming of a Yu Darvish complete-game shutout Saturday in his 2016 debut were given a reality check Tuesday, unless he can do it in 85 to 90 pitches.
The right-hander will be monitored against the Pittsburgh Pirates and throughout his comeback season on some level. The hope is that keeping tabs on him will have him still firing away for October.
The rub, of course, is that the Rangers need him to be an ace to get to October. Aces are expected to work late into games. Pitching coach Doug Brocail, though, said that Darvish can work deep into games by piling up efficient inning after efficient inning.
That means more fastballs, something the Rangers have wanted from Darvish since he arrived from Japan. Darvish was able to do that against Double A outfits, but even when facing overmatched foes he would go to his assortment of breaking pitches if he saw that no one was going to touch them.
Brocail conceded that he’s not going to run out and tell Darvish to throw more fastballs. Darvish knows where and how to get his outs, and if he feels he needs to rely on breaking balls early on in his return, so be it.
He’s going to be pitching for the Rangers again. That’s good enough. Just don’t expect to see him pitching all that long.