That pop-up storm that caused the start of Tuesday’s game to be delayed was actually a good thing for the Texas Rangers.
Their top prospect, Joey Gallo, was hurtling through Central Texas to get to Globe Life Park on time for the first pitch. He was in the starting lineup, after all.
He even had a police escort from Alvarado to Arlington, but it was still going to be a close call.
Alas, Gallo made it, but there seems to be some doubt about how long he stays with the Rangers.
The trade deadline is Monday, and for those who have been on the lam for the past month, the Rangers need a starting pitcher. Gallo could help them get one.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 6-3 loss.
1. Gallo is back in the majors, and the Rangers were adamant that his promotion was about adding pop to the lineup, not adding Chris Sale to the rotation.
“We needed some thump,” one official said.
Gallo provided it with a towering 448-foot homer to left-center in the fifth inning, but he also mixed in two strikeouts, a groundout and an error at first base.
The Rangers are willing to live with the mistakes and the strikeouts. Their lineup without a healthy homer-hitting Prince Fielder was lacking, and Gallo seemed to be the obvious choice to replace him last week.
Instead, Gallo got the call, a late call, Tuesday and, for those who take the club at its word, isn’t being showcased for potential trade partners.
But the call-up felt like it might be to let a trade partner look at him. The Rangers didn’t call Gallo until after 1:30 p.m., didn’t post a lineup until nearly 5 p.m., and there was some concern that Gallo might not make it to Globe Life Park in time.
If the Rangers wanted power, why did they wait until after lunch to promote Gallo? He could have been there bright and early Tuesday morning or even last week, hence the conspiracy theory that a trade partner wanted to see him.
A baseball source called the trade market slow and said that the Rangers aren’t too close to any deal for a starting pitcher, be it Sale or former TCU star Andrew Cashner. Sale is scheduled to pitch Thursday for the White Sox, so something significant will have to give for a deal to get done Wednesday.
Gallo would have to be in a deal for Sale, along with Jurickson Profar and other prospects. The win-now segment is all for the deal. Worry about next season next season, when Sale will still be in the rotation.
There are a lot of positives in a trade for the All-Star left-hander but no guarantees, just as there are no guarantees that Gallo and Profar will become MLB stars.
The Rangers are going to get a look at both of them this week and maybe beyond. For those who take the club at its word, Gallo isn’t being showcased.
2. Nick Martinez was nearly unhittable in his return to the major leagues, allowing only a bad-hop single in the second inning the first time through the A’s lineup. Then came the second time through, when the A’s sent 5 for 9 with three homers.
It was 4-0 when Martinez exited in the fifth and 5-0 before the inning ended.
There was improvement for Martinez, who filled up the strike zone. He wasn’t quick enough to make an adjustment, and it got him.
Martinez figures to start again Sunday barring a trade, which the Rangers need. Martinez, perhaps because he tries to be too perfect when stuff hits the fan, has regressed this season. So has Chi Chi Gonzalez.
They are the Rangers’ choices, unless they want to dip into Double A for either Yohander Mendez or Connor Sadzeck. There’s an opening on the 40-man roster if the Rangers wanted to take a flier on Triple A pitchers Michael Roth or Austin Bibens-Dirkx, an independent-league project.
The smart money is on Martinez or a trade. The Rangers, of course, are hoping for a trade.
3. Rougned Odor collected the Rangers’ first hit of the game in the fifth inning and made the first out of the inning on the same play.
He sent a liner to right field, where Josh Reddick appeared to nonchalant his way to it pick it up. So, Odor took off for second, where he found the ball waiting for him for an easy out after a good throw from Reddick.
Gallo followed with his homer and the next four reached, too. The Rangers left two on base in the three-run inning.
Would the rest of the inning have unfolded the same way had Odor stopped at first? Maybe. Maybe not.
But the Rangers had seen that side of Sonny Gray earlier this season. They were trailing Gray and the A’s 5-0 after five innings June 15 at Oakland, then scored five runs on 20 pitches against Gray in the sixth in an eventual 7-5 win.
The same thing was unfolding Tuesday. Odor’s aggressive play, while down 5-0, kept the Rangers from duplicating their June come back.
Those are the kind of mistakes that have plagued the Rangers the past month. In games when Martinez or that ilk are pitching, those mistakes can’t be made.