The day started ominously Friday for the Texas Rangers, with one of their key bullpen pieces getting arrested.
Just before the game, the sweet, 4-year-old Play Ball Kid started to cry and reach for his father right when it came time for him to say the two most famous words in baseball.
Then, Martin Perez pitched. His Globe Life Park luck ran out.
Friday was a stinker for the Rangers.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 12-1 loss.
1. Martin Perez was pitching at home, which was supposed to translate into either a Rangers win or at least a start in which he gave the Rangers a chance to win.
Granted, he was facing a tall order. The Cleveland Indians started Corey Kluber, the Coppell High product who won the Cy Young Award in 2014 and is in the conversation again this season.
But the Rangers didn’t have much of a chance as Perez had trouble finishing off innings. He allowed five two-out hits, three of which drove in five of the six runs against him in 5 2/3 innings.
Perez has allowed six earned runs in consecutive starts, which isn’t good. He’s also had starts of 11 runs (seven earned), six runs (five earned), seven runs (all earned) and five runs (three earned).
The Rangers, though, have to stick with Perez. No one at Triple A has shown this season he is up to the task of pitching in the majors, and the soonest Colby Lewis could return is next weekend.
Maybe at that point the Rangers do something with Perez, though A.J. Griffin seems the more likely choice to lose his rotation spot. But maybe third straight rough start for Perez changes the club’s thinking.
2. Mike Peasley, whom everyone in the press box likes, had me on his ESPN-Dallas pregame radio program and asked if I thought the American League West race was over. Thirty minutes before the game, the Rangers led Seattle by 7 1/2 games.
Peas threw up this fact: Twenty of the Rangers’ final games 33 are at home, where they have a .656 winning percentage. I threw in that their opponents the rest of the season had a .469 winning percentage entering Friday. The last week of the season includes three home games against Milwaukee and three against Tampa Bay.
The schedule heavily favors a Rangers repeat, especially with Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish pitching 40 percent of the remaining games and Derek Holland and Colby Lewis potentially strengthening the rotation.
The only thing that kept me from declaring the race over was that the Rangers and Mariners play seven more times. Yeah, the Rangers have a good handle on the season series (8-4 lead). Yeah, to win 88 games, which is what it took to win the West last season, the Rangers need to go only 13-20 and the Mariners have to go 20-14.
And then I remembered 2012, as everyone does. For those who don’t, the Rangers were up five games with nine to play and ended up losing the division title to Oakland.
Over? Not yet. All but over? In theory. Check back after the Rangers and Mariners finish their season series? I’ll take that one.
3. Jeremy Jeffress could be back on the active roster as soon as Saturday after the Rangers placed him on the restricted list following his arrest on the suspicion of driving while under the influence.
The question is how long will he stay on the roster.
Jeffress tested positive three times in the minor leagues for marijuana, the last of which earned him a 100-game suspension. A fourth would have knocked him out of the game, so the Brewers added him to their 40-man roster because MLB players can’t be tested for marijuana under the MLB Joint Drug Agreement.
Alcohol is not considered a drug of abuse under the JDA. Marijuana is, and players can be tested if MLB believes there is reasonable cause that they have been using. The fact that police found a green leafy substance and took a sample of Jeffress’ blood for marijuana and synthetic marijuana sounds like reasonable cause.
If the minor league suspensions carry over to the majors, Jeffress could be facing a long suspension. If not, he will likely be fined and forced to go to treatment.
These things, though, usually take a long time. Even if this results in a worst-case scenario for the Rangers and Jeffress, it seems like it won’t unfold until after the season.
Of course, I’m no lawyer or MLB bigwig.
Based on Jeffress’ medical history — he was diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy while in the minors and deals with anxiety because of it, hence the self-medicating with marijuana — and that he hasn’t tested positive for marijuana since 2009, maybe there’s some room for leniency.
Maybe he doesn’t test positive. Maybe he isn’t even tested.
Of course, I’m no lawyer.