Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: How the rotation could become even more jumbled by Aug. 1

If not for this Mookie Betts catch, which took a two-run homer away from Nomar Mazara, things might have turned out differently Tuesday for the Rangers.
If not for this Mookie Betts catch, which took a two-run homer away from Nomar Mazara, things might have turned out differently Tuesday for the Rangers. The Associated Press

Mitch Moreland is an American League All-Star, and that's great.

Moreland spent the first seven years of his career with the Texas Rangers, who didn't re-sign him as he hit free agency for the first time following the 2016 season.

He burst onto the scene in 2010, and hit the Rangers' first home run in a World Series game. He was going to be the first baseman of the future after Justin Smoak and Chris Davis, previous first basemen of the future, were dealt away ahead of the July 31 trade deadlines in 2010 and 2011.

Moreland dealt with his share of injuries, but by the end of his stint was a Gold Glove-winning first baseman. Along the way, he got married, and he and his wife started a family that grew to three kids over the off-season.

It's not easy to make it to the other clubhouse during a series, but time had to be made for Moreland. It wasn't hard to see that he's proud of being an All-Star, and he should be.

He also likes sticking it to his old team, though through the first two games of this series he is only 1 for 6.

The rest of the Boston Red Sox hitters have had his back.

Here's some Rangers Reaction from an 8-4 loss.

Jeff Banister is the fastest manager to 300 wins in Rangers' history

1. An early-afternoon meeting in front of the Rangers' dugout ended with manager Jeff Banister and left-hander Mike Minor shaking hands. Twice, by an unofficial count.

The manager either read (probably at star-telegram.com. Subscribe here) what Minor said after Monday's game or was informed of what he said.

Minor said that he had grown frustrated by the short leash the Rangers are keeping him on even though he feels great in his first year in an MLB starting rotation since 2014. The Rangers have a plan, he said, but he didn't know what it was.

That was ironed out, and both sides left without steam coming out of their ears.

Minor didn't like what he heard, but will live with it over the final 69 games of the season.

The Rangers are going to continue to monitor Minor's pitch count, preferably below 100 a start, and will try to limit his innings. (This has been the plan since Minor was signed in December.)

Banister apparently told Eric Nadel on the pregame show that 170 innings is the limit.

Banister did say that Minor will start Sunday in the first-half finale at Baltimore, and the goal is to balance the innings so that the Rangers don't have to shut Minor down in September.

Reaching the finish line at 162 games would be an accomplishment to build on for 2019, when pitch limits won't be implemented.

Minor might not like it, but he only works for the Rangers. They want to keep him working as a starter through the duration of his three-year contract.

Texas Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo is the first Korean-born position player to earn an All-Star nod.

2. Austin Bibens-Dirkx, optioned to the minors Monday, deserves to be in this starting rotation. He could take the spot of Yovani Gallardo in what would be a fairly clean move, but it would be a move that would leave the starter-thin Rangers even thinner.

They can't be parting ways with starters, not with Cole Hamels on the trading block and with Minor unsuccessfully lobbying for more innings in the second half. Gallardo, who allowed six runs in five innings Tuesday, should be safe.

With depth an issue, the return of Martin Perez from the disabled list is welcomed news. He is going to start Saturday, and the Rangers can create a spot on the 40-man roster for him by either trading Austin Jackson or by designating him for assignment.

The 25-man spot can be created in a variety of ways, though it won't be Carlos Tocci who goes down. Ricardo Rodriguez or Ryan Rua can be optioned back to Triple A Round Rock.

The one who survives this weekend could go to open the second half to create a spot for Bibens-Dirkx.

Follow along: With the Rangers hell bent on keeping Minor's innings down, they will again be forced to use a sixth starter at times in the second half.

If Hamels goes, they're really going to need Bibens-Dirkx.

So, let him start the second half in an expanded rotation or as a swing man. That would keep Matt Moore stretched out as the long man, and he could move back into the rotation if Hamels is dealt.

If not Moore, Ariel Jurado could get bumped from Double A Frisco. Jurado made a spot start in May. Yohander Mendez is still being reset at High A Down East.

A Hamels trade could leave the Rangers with a rotation of Bartolo Colon, Minor, Perez, Bibens-Dirkx, Gallardo and Moore for a few weeks until Doug Fister is able to return from a knee injury.

Check, please.

3. There was good news that came out of the loss. Really.

Shin-Soo Choo walked in the third inning to extend his on-base streak to 48 games. It will get a serious test Wednesday against Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale.

The streak stretcher came an inning after Rougned Odor launched a 447-foot homer. That was the first of his two hits in the game, and it preceded the first of Ronald Guzman's two hits in the game.

The struggling Joey Gallo doubled in two runs in the sixth and walked in his first two plate appearances. He does the things that good hitters do. He just needs to do them more often.

And that's it.

The rest wasn't good, from Gallardo in a five-run third inning to the hitting at the top of the lineup (1 for 16). The first man out of the bullpen, Rodriguez, also couldn't keep the Rangers within striking distance after Gallo's double brought them within 6-4.

The Red Sox have a way of doing bad things to teams, in all facets. Their outfield defense is superb, as highlighted by Mookie Betts racing back and then stretching over that dinky little fence in right field to take a two-run homer away from Nomar Mazara.

The Rangers have a way of letting teams do bad things to them, and now they are 21 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros in the American League West.

That's the third-largest deficit in the majors.

Check, please.

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