The world’s best offense — the new-look Texas Rangers’ offense — was no-hit into the sixth inning Tuesday night and nearly shut out in a 5-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Carlos Beltran didn’t get a hit in his Rangers debut, and neither did Jonathan Lucroy. Afterward on the Twitter, one Rangers fan called the loss deflating.
Naturally, social media and Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy reminded all of a few things: Any lineup can be shut down on any night by a pitcher who was as on as Bundy was, and a game on Aug. 2, even the day after the trade deadline, should never be deflating, no matter the hype generated by social media.
Baseball is a long season. There’s a long way to go before Oct. 2, when the Rangers close out their schedule at home against the Tampa Bay Rays. This lineup is going to get shut down probably many more times.
Me, I’d probably give it a second chance.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 5-1 loss.
1. Tsk, tsk, Yu Darvish.
Everyone knows he has a difficult time adjusting to catchers. But Lucroy isn’t just any catcher, even if he’s in the American League for the first time in his career.
Darvish admitted that he shook off Lucroy before each of the three homers the Orioles hit off him, and afterward said that, well, that’s not a good idea going forward.
“Maybe next time I should trust him more,” Darvish said.
That’s a start.
The bashing of Darvish began quickly on the Twitter, but give him a little credit: He admitted his mistakes, said that he followed Lucroy’s lead in throwing more inside sinkers, and simultaneously told everyone how good his new catcher is.
Of course, most everyone knew how good Lucroy is.
At least the trust issues are out of the way, and maybe along the way Darvish will begin to trust all catchers a bit more. Even Robinson Chirinos.
Darvish and Chirinos, now the backup to Lucroy, haven’t worked well together in the past, although it’s a small sample size of only four starts. Darvish loved Chris Gimenez, and in 2014 lobbied for the Rangers to bring Gimenez back from Triple A.
Bobby Wilson caught each of Darvish’s first six starts, and the results were pretty good. Darvish was good again Tuesday night with Lucroy.
Darvish would have been better had he nodded yes three additional times.
2. The fine fans of the Cleveland Indians took to the Twitter to take out their frustrations or just have some fun with Lucroy turning down a trade that would have sent him to the AL Central leaders.
The hashtag #IhopeLucroy became a thing, and it was kind of fun.
One guy tweeted, “#IhopeLucroy steps on a Lego.” Anyone who has kids knows that stepping on a Lego sucks, and that tweet is pretty funny.
Another disgruntled Indians fans tweeted, “#IhopeLucroy pours a bowl of cereal and then realizes he’s out of milk.” Is there anything worse than that at breakfast time?
The Indians fans, though, have no one to blame but their favorite team’s front office.
The Indians essentially refused to guarantee that Lucroy would be their starting catcher next season, according to the very trustworthy Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
That’s no way to woo a player who has your team on his no-trade list, nor is it particularly smart. Yan Gomes is a fine player, this season’s horrendous batting average notwithstanding, but Lucroy is better.
He’s one of the top catchers in the game.
He’s also going to be a free agent after 2017. Did the Indians really think that Lucroy would accept a trade to a team that wasn’t going to guarantee that he would be their starting catcher next year?
Lucroy had all the leverage. His team, the Milwaukee Brewers, was going to trade him to a contender that wanted him to be their catcher next season. If not, he was going to make the most of staying in the only organization he had ever known, even if they are in rebuild mode.
So the #IhopeLucroy hashtag, while entertaining, is misplaced.
How about #IhopeIndiansmanagement ... .
3. A prevailing thought I have about the two trades the Rangers made Monday is that they pulled them off without surrendering Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar.
More than a few Rangers veterans were thrilled that Gallo and Profar remain in the organization. They now know that Profar is a quality player, and though Gallo was a strikeout machine last week, the players were wowed by the homer he hit and the power he has.
That kind of power isn’t something that can be learned. Maybe it can be achieved scientifically, but that seems dubious.
There’s always a chance that a difference-making pitcher can clear waivers this month and the Rangers try to include Gallo or Profar in a package, but don’t count on it. The price isn’t suddenly going to go down on starting pitching just because the calendar turned a page.
So, Gallo figures to be at first base or designated hitter next season, and Profar figures to be all over the field and at DH.
Here’s another thought: Does trading center fielder Lewis Brinson serve as an indication that the Rangers will re-sign Ian Desmond? Maybe. Maybe not. But I bet it’s an indication that the Rangers will try a little harder this off-season.
One more thought: The Rangers parted with their two best pitching prospects, Luis Ortiz and Dillon Tate, and some of you out there have voiced concerns about the rotation in 2018 beyond.
To that I say, worry about 2018 in 2018 and try to win the World Series now. A world title could go a long way toward helping the 2018 rotation.