Joey Gallo has big game for Rangers, but laments missed chance late
The temperature at first pitch Friday was 107 degrees, a record by one degree for the 24-year-old Globe Life Park.
It might be the hottest ever in Arlington, dating to 1972, but the Texas Rangers don’t have data on first-pitch temps from Arlington Stadium.
But by the bottom of the first had dropped to a mere 105. It was 104 by the bottom of the third. It was 95 in the seventh ... at 10:05 p.m.
A cold front. A painfully slow game to open the second half.
If given the choice — miserably hot or miserably cold — Rangers players almost unanimously took the heat. Baseball in cold weather isn’t any fun, especially for the hitters.
The heat, they said, can be combated by staying hydrated, by getting in front of the AC in the dugout, and by the starting pitcher working quickly.
Both failed that test. The bullpens didn’t exactly help either.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 9-8 loss in 11 innings to the Cleveland Indians.
1. Chances are that Willie Calhoun would have played on the surface of the sun as long as he was in the major leagues, where he was expected to be on Opening Day, then in late April and then multiple times since.
But as Rangers Reaction tried to explain multiple times, Calhoun wasn’t coming up if there wasn’t an opportunity to play every day. The Rangers didn’t want one of their top prospects to come up and sit on the bench, so they recalled Ryan Rua four times.
Carlos Tocci is here to stay, as hard as it is to believe. Calhoun might be gone as soon as Nomar Mazara (sprained right thumb) is ready to come off the disabled list.
It’s entirely possible that Calhoun can earn an extended stay, though it seems the only way would be if more everyday at-bats were opened by an injury to Shin-Soo Choo or a demotion of Joey Gallo, who hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and tied it with a 472-foot blast in the ninth.
No Rangers fan should want either of those things to happen.
How about a trade of Choo, who extended his on-base streak to 52 games with a leadoff single? No action there so far, and besides, the Rangers don’t need to dump his salary. Slashing salaries is not yet part of the Rangers’ development plan.
They also shouldn’t be in a rush to trade too many veterans. It’s possible that Adrian Beltre and Cole Hamels could be dealt and not re-sign in the off-season, and the Rangers will need veterans around to show players like Calhoun who to be professionals.
Of course, Choo is blocking Calhoun, but so is Gallo after he emerged as the left fielder. The Rangers have said that they will give Gallo the chance work through his hitting issues in the majors, and if one second-half game is any indication, the work is going well.
“Personally, it was a pretty good game for me,” Gallo said. “I’ve been feeling pretty good all year and haven’t had the results and maybe have been swing at pitches I should swing at and then start piling on and trying to do too much. In the second half I just want to relax and play the game.”
Finding a spot for Calhoun is a dilemma, for sure, and maybe it gets resolved in the 10 days ahead of the July 31 trade deadline or maybe something happens in the off-season.
For now, as Banister said, just let Calhoun play and see if he even can earn an extended stay.
2. The Rangers saw Cleveland score a run in the ninth as Delino DeShields dived for a sinking liner to center, only to miss it.
He was out on the bases in the second inning, caught between second and third, after Gallo was held up at third on a single that he likely could have scored on. Third-base coach Tony Beasley took all the blame.
The Rangers couldn’t score in the 10th despite loading the bases with no outs on three straight singles. They had to use Matt Moore, who had been pitching better of late, in the 11th.
He would have had to pitch the 12th, 13th and 22nd.
General manager Jon Daniels and crew decided to not fill the roster vacancy created by the Thursday trade of Jesse Chavez. They chose to sit on that spot for one day, with left-hander Alex Claudio coming off the disabled list Saturday.
Martin Perez went seven innings last week. The six relievers had four days off and were fresh.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Well, when the Rangers didn’t score in the 10th, they had no choice but to pitch Moore and didn’t have anyone who could bail him out if he got in trouble. The Indians managed to get a run home and win the game.
Clearly, there were flights from Omaha, Neb. That’s where Calhoun was with Triple A Round Rock. It wouldn’t have been the first time in club history that a player was recalled for only one game.
Was that decision the sole reason the Rangers lost? No.
Did it play a factor in the loss? Yes.
3. Day 1 of the second of the second half proved to be a decent day on the bold-predictions front.
Rougned Odor singled three times on his march to .260, and the Beltre and Hamels were not trade. The Rangers didn’t not pull an unexpected trade.
(Don’t ask about the prediction that Gallo won’t strike out 200 times this season.)
Hamels, though, was trending on Twitter around dinnertime, or at least that’s when I first noticed his name. He told a Philadelphia newspaper over the All-Star break that he would call a trade back to the Phillies “a blessing” and “the perfect scenario.”
Well, yeah. He still owns a house in the area, he and his family vacationed with their Philly friends on the Jersey shore during the break, and he that’s where he career was launched.
As of last week, though, Hamels had said that he doesn’t want to be traded and isn’t sure he will be before July 31. Maybe in August and maybe to a National League team, where the standings are pretty tight in all three divisions.
But Hamels understands what’s at stake and that he’s on the trading block. If he’s going to be traded, Philadelphia would be ideal. Nothing more should be read into it than that.
4. Perez faced a lineup that can actually hit, as opposed to the Baltimore Orioles offense he faced last weekend, and his performance was a mixed bag.
Ultimately, he allowed six runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Two came on a Jason Kipnis homer on an 0-2 pitch in the second inning, and Jose Ramirez connected for his 30th homer of the season in the Indians’ three-run sixth.
Perez, though, threw a bunch of strikes, at times too many, and pulled a nifty escape in the fifth after the first two batters reach. He worked inside. His velocity was good.
“I think for the first five inning I was throwing the ball around the zone and they didn’t really do anything to me,” Perez said. “In the last inning, I missed with the zone with two pitches ... but I felt great.”
But that kind of outing isn’t going to convince the Rangers that he’s worth paying $7.5 million next season. Unless the Rangers decide to slip a sixth starter into the rotation before his next start, Perez will pitch again Wednesday against the Oakland A’s.
He would go again July 30 at Arizona.
At the very least, the Rangers’ upcoming schedule will provide good tests for Perez to see where he stands.