Losing happens at least 60 times for the best of the best teams in MLB, so one was in the Texas Rangers’ future after winning seven in a row.
It came Tuesday, when the Cincinnati Reds pounced for six runs against Colby Lewis in five innings and got some quality starting pitching from Anthony DeSclafani.
Reds 8, Rangers 2. Also snapped were the Rangers’ streaks of 11 consecutive home series wins and 10 straight series wins overall.
“You know it’s going to happen,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “You don’t want it to happen, but that’s baseball.”
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Tuesday.
1. Just as games like the one Tuesday happen to the best teams, so, too, does discomfort find Colby Lewis.
“I’ve been in discomfort my whole career,” he said.
The man who is pitching on a fake hip and had off-season knee surgery after pitching most of last season with torn meniscus is also no stranger to arm ailments. He had Tommy John surgery in high school, shoulder surgery in 2005 and flexor-tendon surgery in 2012.
So what should everyone make of the triceps cramping that forced him out after five innings Tuesday? It’s probably best to wait to see how it feels Wednesday.
After listening to Lewis, he doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal. He isn’t worried whatsoever. Yu Darvish thought the same thing when he had triceps tightness in the spring of 2014, and the next day he learned he would need Tommy John.
Assuming Lewis was just fatigued or dehydrated or some such, the Rangers have the luxury of their first off day Friday since June 2 to manipulate the rotation and give Lewis a few extra days off instead of just the one.
Lewis, tough as nails, might want to pitch in relief Wednesday. He was ticked that he couldn’t stay in and eat some innings Tuesday.
It’s probably best to wait to see how it feels Wednesday.
2. The time has arrived for Ian Desmond to get a day off, which he hasn’t had since the Rangers were off June 2. Manager Jeff Banister said that Desmond will sit Wednesday, getting two days off while missing only one game, and Ryan Rua will start in center.
Judging by the one Rua putout in relief of Desmond on Tuesday, there could be a couple adventures out there. Rua said that he will rely on the positioning he gets from the coaching staff and try to draw on the work he has been doing during batting practice and in the few innings he has played out there.
Desmond takes a seat with a .313 batting average overall and a .354 average this month. He’s the team’s leader in RBIs, at 46, and has reached safely in 18 of the past 20 games.
As Adrian Beltre said, Desmond is the Rangers’ best bet to be an All-Star this year. He appears to have mastered center field, though he would never say such a thing, and there isn’t a game that goes by in which he doesn’t hit a ball really hard.
Beltre believes the Rangers could have four All-Stars next month at San Diego — Desmond, Andrus, Lewis and Cole Hamels. Beltre, relying on his son’s analysis, believes that too many other third baseman are having better seasons than he is to be considered a candidate.
Besides, Beltre believes that the prudent move would be a chance to rest his left hamstring if selected.
The American League’s best team needs to have more than just the one All-Star. Right-hander Sam Dyson could get a look. Maybe Nomar Mazara does, too. The problem is that without any player voted as a starter, it’s difficult for a team to get more than a couple reserves on the team.
The flip side is rest for 90 percent of the team isn’t a bad thing.
3. The question many seem to have lately about Desmond is when will the Rangers sign him to a contract extension and what would they have to pay him to get him to agree to stay.
The when, to me, is simple to answer: After the season. Desmond probably wants to see what free agency is like coming off a strong year rather than the anguish he went through this past winter.
The money is tricky.
Assuming he remains productive, even if he slides to .285 but with 20-plus homers and a good glove in center field, he’s going to put himself in position to hit the jackpot this off-season. Maybe $16 million per year for five years. Maybe upwards of $20 million, though that seems too high.
The Rangers love the player, but they already have big contracts doled out to Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, Beltre, Andrus and Hamels. Pursuing Desmond would possibly mean no Mitch Moreland and Derek Holland in 2017.
Maybe Holland stays, because of the relative value of his club option at $11 million. Not keeping Moreland, who is also headed to free agency, would give the Rangers $6 million and an opening to put Joey Gallo in the lineup every day next season.
Will the Rangers want to re-sign Lewis, assuming all ends well this season? Will they want to extend Darvish, who can be a free agent after next season?
A hint of the Rangers’ intentions could come at the trade deadline. If they make a deal in which prospect Lewis Brinson is included, it seems like their off-season priority would be keeping Desmond.
Brinson, despite his struggles this season at Double A Frisco, has tools similar to Desmond. Brinson might need another year in the minors, which would give Delino DeShields another shot at center field for a season.
A hint of the Rangers’ intentions could be delivered July 31. But I can’t see a deal getting done with Desmond until he tests the market this off-season.