Jon Daniels: Rangers season so far a ‘mixed bag’
Home runs, anybody?
The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers supplied eight of them Monday night, and the traveled 3,358 feet. It was the biggest power output by two teams in Arlington since Sept. 25, 2011, when the Rangers and Seattle Mariners did it.
That's an average of 419 feet per poke, a number that dropped from 427 after Aaron Hicks connected on a mere 369-footer in the ninth inning.
It was the only Yankees homer not hit off Bartolo Colon.
Not a good night for the home team.
Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 10-5 loss.
1. Rougned Odor connected for his first home run of the season, a three-run shot in fourth inning that moved the Rangers into a short-lived 4-4 tie. He said he did it for his newborn daughter, who was in attendance for the first time.
Daddy needed it more than six-week-old Emma.
Odor continues to be a sub.-200 hitter, not that anyone is taking note (insert Al Czervik eye roll here). He still swings at bad pitches and strikes out too much.
But the second baseman is at only 69 at-bats, and only 31 of those have come in the past two weeks since he came off the 10-day disabled list.
Taking into the long-held belief that it takes a batter 100 at-bats before he gets comfortable, Odor is still finding his range.
In other words, his not going to be benched anytime soon.
"He continues to find his way," manager Jeff Banister said. "I like that he's trying to put the ball on the ground and bunt. He had some hard outs in Chicago. We saw the home run tonight. I look for him to continue that trend."
Odor's timing was off when he exited the DL. He says he's slowly catching up. He's also trying to bunt for hits more, a weapon that can get any speedy hitter out of a slump.
So can the first homer of a season.
"It felt good," Odor said. "I was just swinging at bad pitches. Right now, I’m just trying to see my pitch, get my pitch and I felt really good today the plate. I just try to go up there and fight every at-bat. At-bat for at-bat. I go up there for one at-bat, and if I don't do well I put it in the past and focus on another at-bat."
For those who can't get over Odor's miserable 2017, get over it. Odor has. It's a new season — 69-at-bats-old in Odor's case — and players don't wallow in their misery from past seasons.
He is also in the second year of a six-year, $49.5 million contract. To bench him or demote him are the last resort for the Rangers, especially in a season in which the best thing to do is develop young players.
Odor is 24. Yeah, he has some service time under his belt, but he wasn't a finished product after his breakthrough 2016 and he isn't now.
2. It's not that Colon was too hittable in his worst start of the season. It's that the Yankees' offense makes pitchers pay dearly for their hittable mistakes.
The Yankees connected for four homers off Colon, who lasted 5 1/3 innings on a steamy night. He was more "Big Sweaty" than "Big Sexy" while allowing a season-high six runs.
"I know that they don't miss much, and I was missing with my pitches," said Colon, who is 0-2 with a 5.46 EA in six games/four starts at home. "If in the major leagues you miss with your pitches, you'll pay for it."
He was at 91 pitches after five innings, and Matt Bush had warmed in the fifth. The two hitters who had hurt Colon the most — Neil Walker and Gleyber Torres — were leading off the sixth.
Colon got Walker, but Torres got Colon for his second homer of the game. The Rangers might not have fared much better if Bush had started the inning, as he allowed two runs in his return from Triple A Round Rock before a scoreless sixth, but it sure seemed like Colon had extended himself enough.
(Is anyone still questioning these decisions with this season trending the way it is?)
The Rangers are throwing the best they have in the rotation at the Yankees this series — Colon, Cole Hamels and Doug Fister. That's assuming Hamels' neck didn't stiffen up again watching all those Yankees homers and doubles.
Hamels and Fister are in for a stiff test against these Yankees, who have the market cornered on power. The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros, no slouches themselves, have also given Rangers pitchers fits this season.
Wait a second. Is there an offense that hasn't given the Rangers fits? Come to think of it ... not really.
3. General manager Jon Daniels gave the word that right-hander Tim Lincecum might not be reinstated from the 60-day DL on May 28, the first day he is eligible.
Lincecum's first four outings on rehab assignment weren't great. The fifth was marginally better, and the sixth Monday was easily his best. He allowed only a walk in two scoreless innings for Round Rock before allowing back-to-back singles to start his third inning of work.
One of the two runners ended up scoring.
For those who put all their faith in velocity, well, Lincecum hasn't had a ton of it. The word from Dell Diamond is that he topped out at 90 mph.
Bush said that he thought Lincecum was getting more comfortable and confident, and that was resulting in better pitching.
"I think he's settling in just fine, and, hopefully, he'll be ready to go soon," Bush said.
Pitchers get 30 days to rehab before they must be reinstated, and Lincecum hits the big 3-0 on June 6. With the Rangers not exactly in the hunt, there's no need to rush him.
The Rangers have nine relievers on their active roster. Nine. One will have to go when a spot starter is called upon Thursday for Matt Moore. Even if it's long man Jesse Chavez, that would still leave the Rangers with eight relievers.
Lincecum could be called up to replace Brandon Mann.
In other words, it won't be a problem to get him on the active roster.
It will boil down to performance. After Monday, perhaps he's on the right track.