Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: Hey, at least Big Sexy is pitching Yankees opener

"Big Sexy" Bartolo Colon likes AL because he does not have to hit or run

Bartolo Colon makes his Rangers’ debut and at 44 is a marvel, March 1, 2018. (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).
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Bartolo Colon makes his Rangers’ debut and at 44 is a marvel, March 1, 2018. (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

The Texas Rangers had two hits on Sunday. They lost the series finale to the Chicago White Sox, completing a forgettable four-game series against the team with the worst record in the big leagues.

Things aren't going well for the Rangers, to say the least.

Fortunately, they still have Bartolo Colon on the roster, and the man known as "Big Sexy" is about the only thing the team has going for it. Colon will start the series opener against the New York Yankees on Monday, which is where we'll begin our Rangers Reaction.

1. Big Sexy vs. Yanks. Colon turns 45 on Thursday. He’s been the Rangers’ best pitcher.

Colon (2-1, 2.82 ERA) has become a must-see attraction for the Rangers and will take the mound for Monday’s series opener against the New York Yankees. Colon has a chance to tie Hall of Famer Juan Marichal with 243 career wins for the most by a Dominican Republic native.

Texas Rangers pitcher Bartolo Colon was struck in the midsection Wednesday by a grounder to the mound, but threw to first for the out and stayed in the game. He joked about it later.

He’s three wins away from tying Nicaragua’s Dennis Martinez (245) for most wins by a Latin American.

Colon’s impressive start to the season has been remarkable.

"It’s astonishing, remarkable, all those superlatives you want to put on it," manager Jeff Banister said. "It’s believable when you’re around him. It’s believable. I think on the outside looking in, everybody is going, ‘How in the …'

"You spend time around him, passion for the game, his work ethic, how he prepares, how he keeps his arm in shape and then the feel for the baseball is incredible. I think more than anything else, you get to a certain age, the drive and desire shows up more so than the overall ability. The want-to to continue to go out and do it, put yourself through what it takes to play this game at this level. It’s every day. Even for a starter, it’s still every day."

2. Moore’s mindset. Left-hander Matt Moore has had a forgettable start to the season. He’s 1-5 with a 7.99 ERA and couldn’t make it through four innings in his last start.

The Rangers opted to put Moore on the disabled list Saturday with right knee soreness, an issue that’s been bothering him since spring training. It also gives Moore a chance to exhale and clear his mind a bit.

"It makes sense to let things cool off. I’m not exactly contributing in a positive fashion," Moore said. "At the same point, it gives me time to let that heal up a little bit and basically skip a start, it sounds like."

Moore doesn’t feel like he’s overcompensated for his knee on the mound and wouldn’t use that as an excuse. He’s had slow starts to seasons before in the minor leagues and remains optimistic that better days are ahead.

Still, it’s clearly been frustrating for a guy who’s been an All-Star-caliber pitcher before.

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses a rotation that could include four left handed starters including Matt Moore (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

"It stinks 'cause I feel pretty good heading into it," Moore said. "Get a couple good innings, then kind of have a big inning, then one or two on the backside of that. Or give it up early and then kind of lock it in the last few innings. It seems like there’s been that pivot point each game I can kind of point out, if you go back over them, this is where you got bit. This is where the light was turning yellow and it went red.

"It’s not been my most favorite start, but in general, it’s times like this that you learn a lot from the game, you learn a lot from your mistakes. There's trial and error going on with everything, so you can take advantage of times where you're not being as productive as you like. I think that's really where I am right now."

3. Minor progress. Mike Minor rebounded nicely from his previous start, allowing three runs on six hits with a season-high nine strikeouts on Sunday.

Minor made a couple of mistakes to catcher Welington Castillo but overall showed progress. He just needs to be more economical with his pitches going forward.

"I felt like I pitched well, just not well enough," Minor said.

Added Banister: "Love the tempo, love the attack early."

4. Robinson’s rehab. Utility man Drew Robinson began his rehab assignment at Double A Frisco on Sunday.

Robinson has been on the disabled list since May 7 with left hip soreness. He was batting .175 with one home run and five RBIs in 26 games before landing on the DL.

5. Chicago highs. A trip to Chicago is always welcomed even though the press box at Guaranteed Rate Field is one of the worst in sports. But that's sportswriter beef.

The stadium itself is great from a fan perspective. It's easy to get to with an "L" station nearby, and the concessions are top-notch. I'd recommend the Italian beef sandwich from the Buona stand or a Chicago-style hotdog found throughout the stadium.

Speaking of food, Chicago is a great city for it. It's known for the deep-dish pizza, of course, but my place for pizza is Pequod's Pizza. It's not deep-dish, but it's the best around.

Another good option for food in the area is Revival Food Hall. I met a friend who scouts for the Red Sox there for lunch and had plenty of options.

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