As Thursdays go, the Texas Rangers had a pretty good one.
They beat the Houston Astros 5-3 to win their club-record 10th consecutive series at home and to finish their homestand 6-1.
They learned before the game that Yu Darvish didn’t have any issues with the tightness in his right shoulder that forced him out of his start Wednesday, and afterward revealed that they don’t expect Adrian Beltre to need a stint on the disabled list after he had tightness in his left hamstring Wednesday.
I’m not very good at math, but I believe that adds up to a win, win, win.
I might have missed a win.
Next up: a 10-game road trip to Seattle, Oakland and St. Louis.
First up: Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a feel-good Thursday.
1. The Rangers stayed mum on the status of Beltre until after he had left the clubhouse and until the media filed out of the clubhouse. Those who like to read into things might have read that Beltre was headed to the DL.
Alas, an MRI showed that he has a mild strain of his left hamstring and that the Rangers aren’t planning for him to go on the DL. He will travel to Seattle and be evaluated day to day throughout the road trip.
The Rangers have done this before with Beltre, as they did in 2014 for five days before eventually sitting him down. Maybe that happens here, but the outlook seems fairly optimistic.
Beltre even asked if he could pinch-hit Thursday, so that ought to tell everyone something.
So, no Joey Gallo call-up is in the works. The Rangers will continue to have to find ways to get Jurickson Profar in the lineup, which shouldn’t be too hard to do at least for the next couple days.
The weather forecast for Seattle, shockingly, is dreary. Rainy and chilly, and Safeco Ballpark at times can be one of the coldest plans on earth. A few more days off won’t hurt Beltre and, based on how they’re playing, won’t hurt the Rangers either.
But Beltre, of course, is the world’s toughest baseball player and has experience managing nagging leg injuries. He knows himself best, and manager Jeff Banister trusts Beltre completely.
At 37, though, Beltre might need to back it off another 24 or 48 hours. That could pay dividends down the road.
2. All appears to be well with Darvish’s right shoulder, which tightened up on him Wednesday night in the fourth inning and knocked him out after five. He played catch Thursday, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday and is on track to start Monday at Oakland.
That probably drew a collective “whew” from just about everyone who gets a paycheck from the Rangers. Those who make baseball decisions are left to decide if they want Darvish to pitch on normal rest or if now is the time to drop in a spot starter.
It wouldn’t be easy to do. The roster doesn’t have the flexibility it once did. Tom Wilhelmsen could go back down to create a roster spot for, say, Chi Chi Gonzalez, who could then be replaced by, say, Nick Martinez or Andrew Faulkner or Alex Claudio, to make sure the Rangers continue to have a full bullpen for their stretch of 20 games in 20 days.
Would a few days make a difference? Absolutely. Darvish, who pitched once a week in Japan, loves having an extra day. The other four members in the rotation probably wouldn’t complain either.
Darvish’s neck/shoulder/elbow might love having a couple extra days, even if he says all is well after playing catch without issue Thursday.
3. Prince Fielder’s homer caught the attention the Globe Life Park crowd, which seemed to pause as they watched it race over the right-field wall. They were either impressed with how hard it was it (112 mph) or stunned that Fielder actually hit a homer.
It had to feel good for Fielder, who watched it go and then gave one giant clap of his hands after it found the seats. He’s had a tough week.
He says he was benched. Banister prefers to call it “unplugged.” Either way, he sat two games because he wasn’t hitting and the Rangers were looking for another way to get him going.
He collected four hits in four games against the Astros. Considering where he was, at .187, that constitutes getting going. Considering the status of Beltre, the Rangers need Fielder to get going.
The lineup that was cobbled together Thursday was effective enough, but the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters were Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor and Ryan Rua. I’m not sure that strikes fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers.
A productive Fielder would look good up there, though that would make the Rangers too lefty-heavy. Ian Desmond can hit anywhere, so maybe he slides to the cleanup spot between Mazara and Fielder until Beltre is good to go.
That could be Friday, but, again, that’s probably not the prudent play here. And, of course, the Rangers have to be confident that Fielder is finding his stroke.