Bartolo Colon likes fastball command in ‘great’ but losing start Sunday for Rangers
Not too many things make a beat writer more jittery than a rainy forecast on getaway day.
The treat of not making last call is right up there.
Showers flirted with Target Field pretty much all of Sunday afternoon, which meant the American Airlines app on my phone got some extra work. So did the Weather Channel app.
Alas, the rain stayed away and the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins played nine innings in a tidy 2 hours, 21 minutes.
It didn't go the way the Rangers wanted it, but at least Shin-Soo Choo pushed his on-base streak to 37 games on one of the few pitches the Rangers put in play against young stud Jose Berrios.
Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 2-0 loss.
1. By now it should be pretty clear which Rangers could be had ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Of the group of primary candidates, Jake Diekman might be the easiest to move but with the smallest return.
Rental middle relievers just don't go for a whole lot at the deadline.
Adrian Beltre is the one generating all the buzz right now, though Cole Hamels will join him if he posts another solid outing Monday against the San Diego Padres.
A better than question than who is available is, who isn't?
One baseball executive said that the Rangers are in a position where they must listen on everybody, the exceptions being the players who aren't yet even eligible for arbitration. That means Joey Gallo, Jose Leclerc, Ronald Guzman, Isiah-Kiner Falefa and a few others.
Good buddy Mike Peasley threw out a month or so again that the Rangers should consider training Mazara as he's one of the few players they have, maybe the only player they have, who could potential fetch a young, controllable quality starting pitcher.
Lord knows the Rangers can't seem to develop one of those, and the top arms in their latest draft crop won't be ready for, oh, three to five years. The tops arms in the minors are either at Double A or lower, rehabbing for injuries, or about to be on an operating table.
But trading Mazara, or any of his 20-something peers, seems as improbable as the Rangers developing a starting pitcher.
2. Not only did Choo's on-base streak live on, but so did the streak of solid Rangers starting pitching. On Sunday, it was Bartolo Colon's turn to keep it going, and he did by allowing two runs in seven wildly efficient innings (82 pitches).
Even "Big Sexy" thought it was pretty sexy, as the movement on his pitches and his fastball command improved again.
"I know that I pitched a good game," Colon said. "The good thing is I feel great and am healthy."
It was better Monday against the Kansas City Royals, too.
He allowed three runs in six innings to open a road trip in which none of the Rangers' starters allowed more than four runs in a start. The rotation allowed 12 runs (11 earned) in 38 innings (2.61 ERA) and posted five wins and five quality starts.
The Rangers might actually see that kind of pitching continue for the next week. They face the San Diego Padres, who are in last place in the National League West, and the Chicago White Sox, who entered Sunday 27th out of the 30 MLB teams in runs scored.
Colon was trending the wrong way entering the road trip, having allowed 14 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings. He also surrendered six home runs in that span to give him 19 allowed this season.
The Royals got him once, but the Twins didn't go deep despite sending a couple balls to the wall. When Colon is keeping the ball down and hitting his spots, it doesn't fly out.
"I feel better because my pitches are moving better and I can control my fastball," Colon said. "That's the main thing for me, pitching to the corners, and I did my job."
3. The Rangers have enough hamstrings to worry about with Beltre's a constant threat to snap. Now, they will be monitoring Gallo as he continues to deal with a bothersome left hammy.
Gallo spent Sunday at designated hitter rather than at first base or in left field the day after exiting early after a third-inning double. He said that the anti-inflammatory shot he received April 12 started to wear off around June 1, and he has been dealing with it since.
Banister said that he pulled Gallo on Saturday but isn't overly concerned. His strain his in a different area, behind the knee, than the strain that has twice put Beltre on the DL this season.
Gallo might receive another injection Thursday on the Rangers' next off day. He will visit with team doc Keith Meister on Monday. Gallo said he isn't going to be taking any pages from the Beltre book of hamstring management.
"I'm too young to be doing that," Gallo said. "He'd get mad at me."
Gallo was asked if the hamstring has been a problem at the plate, and he said maybe a little before then saying no. He's actually pleased with his progress at the plate, though his average suggests he might want to start drinking heavily.
Aside from Sunday, when everyone had trouble making contact against Berrios, Gallo has been putting the ball in play more. He was really pleased with his night Friday, even though he went 0 for 4.
The hamstring flares when he runs, which might explain why he couldn't get back quickly enough on a Joe Mauer RBI double to left Friday night.
This is the same hamstring that tore early in his aborted winter ball stint in Venezuela in 2016 and the same hamstring that bothered him that spring, last season, this spring and then now.
Maybe left field isn't the best thing for him for time being.