One of the things I always thought was pretty ridiculous about experienced traveler Richard Durrett, aside from the fact that he once rented a Volkswagen Bug for spring training complete with the flower on the dash, was that he couldn’t sleep on airplanes.
If he was jealous of me for one thing, it was that I sleep like a baby on planes and am often asleep before takeoff. I mention this because the Texas Rangers’ series at Yankee Stadium was draining, due to that enormous rain delay Monday and the rewrite scramble the past two games.
And as soon as my flight to Minneapolis goes wheels up, I’m going to be out of it.
Speaking of Durrett, the Do It For Durrett foundation in his honor just pushed $110,000 raised off its June 23 event. The last $4,250 comes from Craig Couch and Joe Leite, who agreed to purchase a second 2017 MLB All-Star Experience after MLB graciously offered to donate a second batch of tickets.
Not so awesome for the fandom were the last two Rangers losses to the New York Yankees.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from the 2-1 loss Thursday.
1. Let’s go to the Twitter, or at least my notifications (and, no, I’m not correcting the grammar):
“bullpen is terrible and chirinos has to go that ball wasnt even in the dirt unacceptable”
“his catcher ERA sucks. His BA sucks. He now can’t catch the only ball that matters. He needs time off.”
“Rangers keep thinking of new ways of losing :(”
And my personal favorite ...
“lol...3 ridiculous loses in a week. #Rangers”
But the best and most accurate of the bunch ...
“let the overreaction begin”
I’ll let all the other tweets go anonymously, but the Mr. Accurate is Spencer Clare (@saclare). He absolutely nailed it. There’s no need to overreact, but there is a need for people on the Twitter to start using correct grammar and punctuation. It’s not that hard.
As Adrian Beltre said, a loss is a loss no matter how it happens. Blowouts, by one run, walk-offs — all a loss, and that’s how the Rangers are viewing it.
Those are the same Rangers who are the only team in the American League with A) 50 wins (51 to be exact) and B) fewer than 30 losses (29). The Rangers hadn’t lost consecutive games since a three-game sweep May 16-18 at Oakland. That was six weeks ago.
Here’s a friendly public service announcement: The angst being felt by the fans needs to stop for their own good. It’s a long season that will reach only the halfway point Friday. There will be more losses like the two the Rangers have just taken on the chin.
With 50 percent of the season completed, it appears as though there will be far more wins.
Save the worrying for September and October. The sky isn’t falling now.
2. A.J. Griffin’s second start off the disabled list was much better than the first, as he allowed only one run in five innings and showed swing-and-miss stuff and good command.
The Rangers could have used another inning out of him, a problem that should be corrected as he continues to build up after a six-week stint on the disabled list. He said after the loss that he thought the Rangers were being cautious with him but that he could have gone on.
Griffin nearly matched Michael Pineda strikeout for strikeout, finishing with eight in five innings while Pineda had 10 through five and finished with 12. Griffin had a 1-0 lead entering the fifth before Didi Gregorius hit a popup into the right-field seats.
(Other than getting absolutely money-whipped, why on earth would any free-agent right-handed pitcher possibly want to pitch at Yankee Stadium? As much as people like to rip Coors Field because of its altitude, right field in Denver is not worse than in the Bronx.)
Griffin doesn’t overpower hitters, as Pineda did with a 96-mph fastball. Griffin is lucky to crack 88. But he’s got guts and knows how to pitch with what he’s got. He needs to be more efficient more consistently, though.
Going only five innings — if at the manager’s behest — puts a team’s bullpen in a bind. The Rangers’ bullpen is in a bind.
So is the rotation, with three starters on the disabled list, but Griffin looks like he will be the full-time replacement for Colby Lewis and possibly stick in the rotation once Lewis is healthy again in two months.
Derek Holland said he was going to throw Wednesday, but didn’t throw Wednesday. His shoulder woes could be the reason he wasn’t effective in his past three starts, but there might be more too it.
Continued solid work by Griffin could force the Rangers into a tough decision with Holland, who has been a reliever in the past. But with his shoulder history last season and now, turning him into a reliever could lead to more arm issues.
Of course, the same goes for Griffin, who missed the past two seasons.
And if the Rangers go get a starter at the trade deadline, then the futures of Griffin and Holland could be uncertain.
3. Looking for something else positive to take away from the Yankees series? Nomar Mazara says that he’s gaining some more confidence.
He did something good in all four games, including taking a ball to the back in the ninth inning early Tuesday. He then delivered a pinch RBI single later Tuesday and had a three-run double Wednesday. Even Thursday, as the Rangers were wailing away, Mazara had one of the two hits against Michael Pineda.
And his defense? It was there, too.
Even “The Big Chill” admitted that he got a needed confidence boost with his big double off Masahiro Tanaka.
“For sure. It’s huge,” Mazara said.
The thing is it’s been tough to tell that he’s been struggling. He has been, but he is still putting together quality at-bats and putting the ball in play. If this is what it looks like when Mazara struggles, the Rangers will take it for the next, oh, 15 years.
“He needed some feel-good, and he got it,” Banister said. “Even ‘The Big Chill.’ When they’re struggling, every little inch they get back gives them confidence.”