The media has missed David Murphy since he signed with Cleveland after the 2013 season, and all were reminded why Friday before he was honored by the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park.
Murphy, who retired earlier this season, sat down to take questions and did what he always did as a player: He gave thoughtful answers, honest answers, and was the most pleasant and polite person in the room.
That’s not saying much when surrounded by a bunch of beat writers, but his wonderful family was in the interview room along with some Rangers employees who aren’t all that bad either.
As he was honored, Boston Red Sox players, his teammates during spring training and some who knew him from his first go-round in the Boston organization as their first-round pick in 2003, were on the top step of the dugout applauding him.
The Red Sox weren’t quite as nice to the Rangers in the ninth inning.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from an 8-7 loss.
1. The Rangers have grown so concerned with the long-term health of Sam Dyson that they are willing to live with what happened with a 7-4 lead after eight innings.
They summoned Jake Diekman, not Dyson, from the bullpen to preserve the three-run lead rather than dump another appearance on Dyson’s right shoulder.
Diekman issued a leadoff walk, then surrendered a two-out RBI double to pinch-hitter Sandy Leon to end an 11-pitch at-bat. Matt Bush entered for his first career save, but instead surrendered his first career homer and took his first career blown save and first career loss by allowing two more runs.
Dyson entered Friday as the MLB leader in games, with 39, and is on pace for more than 80. Manager Jeff Banister said that won’t fly come September, when the Rangers expect to be playing for October.
So, Banister decided before the game that Dyson was unavailable, something he has done with more regularity of late. Sometimes it hasn’t shown up, like when Colby Lewis flirted with a perfect game June 16.
Dyson wasn’t available that day.
Banister was right when he said that Dyson can’t do it all. Banister said that someone else, preferably multiple relievers, have to be able to shut down games.
They have been for the most part, just not in the ninth. Outs in the eighth inning can be harder to get in some instances than in the ninth.
Diekman had a second straight lousy outing. Bush, in his first crack at the final out, cracked. He even said that the blown save was on his mind after allowing the two-run game-tying homer to Mookie Betts.
The Rangers will seek bullpen help before the trade deadline, but they will be better equipped when Keone Kela returns (he threw a bullpen session Friday) and when Shawn Tolleson is given another crack at a winning situation.
With their preseason bullpen plans dashed long ago, the Rangers have found themselves making decisions for the long haul that might cost them in the short-term.
That’s what happened Friday.
2. Nick Martinez was starting for Yu Darvish for a second straight time, and Banister said that Martinez did enough to give the Rangers a chance. Considering the status of the rotation, they can’t miss many more chances like that.
Injuries to Darvish, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland have thrown the group with the American League’s best rotation ERA into disarray. Some help is on the way, but not enough to erase any worries.
A.J. Griffin is starting Saturday for Holland, and that’s a good thing based on his early-season performance. But Griffin is coming off the DL to do so and might not be able to work very deep in the game. He might not be as sharp as he was in April and early May.
Holland expects to be out until the All-Star break, and it seems like Darvish is headed that way, too. Martinez and a pitcher TBA for Monday will work six more times before the All-Star break.
If Martinez and TBA do what Martinez did Friday, that’ll do.
The long ball, two two-run homers, got Martinez, but he did enough good things to make folks think that his rotation spot won’t be a sinkhole.
He could have been better, of course, after allowing four runs on six hits in six innings with three walks, a hit batsman and two strikeouts. But he could have been a lot worse.
Considering the status of the rotation, the Rangers can’t miss many more chances like the one Martinez gave them Friday.
3. The third annual Do It For Durrett event Thursday was as fun as the first two, with some great acts and great people with big hearts and deep pockets. But the best part is giving away the big $50,000 check to a deserving family.
The event raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000, even after we on the board pay off the bar tab. That’s a very respectable neighborhood.
As one of the five on the board, there are so many people to thank that I’ll decline to do so here so that no one is left out.
So, just thanks to everyone who volunteered, bought a ticket, took part in the raffle, bought an auction item, worked the event, and anyone who is planning to come back next year.
See you then.
And thanks, too, to the MLB teams and players who donated auction items, including the Rangers and many of their players. Included also are former Rangers Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, Scott Feldman and Mike Napoli. They all knew Richard Durrett and understand the person he was and the spirit that the foundation carries forward in his memory.
Anyone who missed out on the event can still purchase a t-shirt for $20 by contacting me or Stefan Stevenson on the Twitter. Bow ties are available for $50. As always, donations can be made at the Do It For Durrett website.