Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: Moore takes right steps, Alberto takes down Paxton

Nomar Mazara and Jurickson Profar did a lot of good Wednesday to help the Rangers beat the Mariners 7-6. But so did Matt Moore and Hanser Alberto.
Nomar Mazara and Jurickson Profar did a lot of good Wednesday to help the Rangers beat the Mariners 7-6. But so did Matt Moore and Hanser Alberto. AP

People always tell me that I shouldn't complain about my work problems because, they say, being a baseball beat writer is an enviable job.

For those who like dicey job security, it is right up your alley.

Pace of play is the most typically voiced complaint from me and my peers. We do our best to stifle our contempt for the knee jerks and just jerks on Twitter.

Scheduling is another area where things could improve, and baseball fans agree. Case in point is this four-game series at Safeco Field.

Some took issue with the Memorial Day game after the Texas Rangers had to fly 1,700 miles following a day game at home. Other teams had it worse. It would seem that could be remedied by scheduling shorter trips ahead of Memorial Day and Labor Day, holidays on which many day games are scheduled.

The biggest issue, as far as all here are concerned, is the series-finale night game Thursday. The Rangers will be lucky to get to their hotel in Anaheim by 2:30 a.m. Friday. The writers have 6 a.m. commercial flights Friday.

Those 3:45 a.m. wake-up calls won't be missed whenever my time on the beat is done. On Friday, I'll just be beat.

Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 7-6 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

1. Matt Moore needed to show improvement in his first start off the 10-day disabled list, manager Jeff Banister said. If that was the lone criteria for Moore, he accomplished it.

It might require pulling back the curtains on his 5 1/3 innings, but he accomplished it.

The Mariners scored five times (four earned) on eight hits and two walks. The left-hander struck out six and was undone by a sloppy fourth inning that included both walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch.

The fifth run scored in the sixth after Moore was replaced by Tony Barnette, who quickly allowed the Moore runner he inherited to score. You could argue that Moore shouldn't have been sent out for the sixth after piling up 100 pitches in five innings, but Banister said that the stuff was still there.

There were a lot of strikes in Moore's 108 pitches, 68 of them. He kept his cool in the second when a fly ball eluded left fielder Joey Gallo and put Moore in a jam that he was able to escape.

Moore worked a scoreless fifth by retiring two batters with a runner at second base.

And, whether he should have or not, he pitched into the sixth inning for only the third time this season and, albeit by a slim of margins, gave the Rangers a chance to win.

"No matter what, we won the game," Moore said. "It was my day to pitch and we won."

More than that, though, he said that he avoided overthrowing, which has been a pitfall this season. Banister liked Moore's selection of pitches, saying the mix and the stuff were the best of the season.

Moore won't start again until next week at home. But he will start again after showing improvement against the Mariners.

2. The Rangers failed to score in the fifth when they loaded the bases with no outs against James Paxton. All the Mariners lefty has done this season is throw a no-hitter, post a 3.13 ERA, and have a damn bald eagle try to land on his shoulder.

And Paxton escaped that trouble by striking out Shin-Soo Choo, getting Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a shallow fly ball to left and Nomar Mazara on a grounder.

However, the inning took its toll. More specifically, a battle with Hanser Alberto — Hanser Alberto! — took its toll.

Ronald Guzman started the inning with a single, and Alberto found himself in a 2-2 count. He fouled off the next seven two-strike pitches and then took two wide ones for a 13-pitch walk.

"Pretty special at-bat by Bert," Banister said. "I thought it was as big of an at-bat as we had all night."

Delino DeShields followed with another walk as part of a 29-pitch inning that pushed Paxton's pitch count to 89. That was it for him, and, as it turns out, for the Mariners as their bullpen allowed four seventh-inning runs to turn a 5-3 lead into a 7-5 deficit on two-run doubles by Mazara and Robinson Chirinos.

"It was a lot of pitches, and then he was out of the game," Alberto said.

He hasn't played much since his contract was purchased two weeks ago, and he might not be around long as Adrian Beltre comes off the disabled list in the coming days.

But he did what bench players are supposed to be able to do — have competitive at-bats (he singled in the third) and play solid defense. That comes with doing extra work, be it in the cage or during early work well before games.

"I feel pretty good at the plate, and I'm seeing the ball well," Alberto said. "I'm just working hard every day. That's why when I get the chance to get in the game, I feel comfortable. I think I did my job today."

His competitive plate appearance against Paxton helped shape the outcome of the game.

3. Beltre once again made life difficult on the beat guys, though again in a playful manner, after the second straight day with what looked to be a rigorous workout. Or at least rigorous for a player with the hamstrings of a 21-year veteran.

He still won't say when he expects to come back, though he balked when asked if he expected to be in the lineup before the Rangers leave Seattle.

Beltre did provide some fresh details:

His left hamstring feels better now than it did when he came off the DL for the same injury May 8. He said that is the result of the Rangers having more of a say in his recovery timeline than they have in the past.

"It's because I've been on the disabled list longer," Beltre said.

The third baseman also said that his 10 days will be like a rehab assignment at the big-league level. One possibility he floated is that he will play one day and be off the next. He will either be off day games after night games or be the designated hitter.

As much as it drives him crazy, he has accepted that he will need more days at DH to give him the best chance at staying healthy the rest of the season.

"I like to be out there, and I like to compete," Beltre said. "I understand I have to be more careful. It's something I have to get used to. We'll try it for the first 10 days or so, and see what happens."

A lot will have to happen to accommodate him. A lot of it was covered in this space Wednesday.

But, perhaps for the first time in a long time, Beltre understands that. Or some of it.

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