Mild-manner Chicago Cubs utility man Ben Zobrist, the former Dallas Baptist star, was ejected Tuesday afternoon for the first time in his career after a prolonged argument with plate ump Phil Cuzzi.
Cuzzi punched out Zobrist in the sixth inning on a ball off the plate, and Zobrist was still steamed in his next at-bat in the ninth. As the bickering went on and on, Zobrist was given the heave after telling Cuzzi the following bit of gold:
“I just basically said that’s why we want an electronic strike zone.”
Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar found that story humorous late Tuesday after he was on the wrong end of some missed calls in his first at-bat.
He was ahead 3-0 in the count and took the next offering high and inside. Plate ump Gerry Davis (remember him?) signaled strike.
The next pitch was even further inside. Strike two.
Profar grounded out to end the inning, but afterward acknowledged the tough job that umpires have.
It shouldn’t have been that tough for Davis in that at-bat.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 6-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
1. Adrian Beltre might not need the disabled list after all for his strained left, or might need only the minimum stay.
That was the only update on the future Hall of Famer that manager Jeff Banister had for the media Tuesday afternoon.
Beltre sat out Tuesday night, will get another day to rest as the Rangers enjoy an off day Wednesday, and will probably try like hell to get in the lineup Thursday.
Multiple people mentioned what was wondered aloud here Monday: How much more of these nagging injuries does the 39-year-old Beltre have left in him before he decides to go home?
He knows that injuries are part of the game, and that helps keep him from getting too discouraged. But his game, in his mind, is to play third base 162 games, and that doesn’t appear possible anymore.
Beltre also knows that the end of his career is near. Only he knows how much closer it is after this latest injury.
2. Give Yovani Gallardo credit. He was waiting for the media as soon as the clubhouse opened and was blatantly honest about his performance over 3 1/3 innings.
“It wasn’t a good day,” he said.
It could have been worse, technically. He was lifted after allowing four runs on 76 pitches, and he was tagged with only his second loss in 10 starts since coming up from Triple A Round Rock.
For the most part, Gallardo has been good enough. He knows how to pitch with a lead, as his 7-2 record would suggest. His 5.33 ERA suggests that he hasn’t been throwing a bunch of zeroes on the scoreboard, but it feels like he has pitched better than that.
“He’s still a major-league pitcher in my opinion,” Banister said.
That’s Gallardo’s opinion, too. He knows that he needs to have sharp command, which he has had in most of his starts. He didn’t have that against Arizona, and the result was an inability to put hitters away.
They fouled off pitches, his pitch count climbed, and they eventually did enough to knock him out early.
“It’s going to happen,” he said.
His goal the rest of the way is to continue to show the Rangers, he hopes, and the other 29 MLB teams that he can help them out in 2019.
He’s still only 32 years old.
“This year I feel good,” Gallardo said. “I feel like we made some adjustments we had to make.”
3. General manager Jon Daniels said earlier this season that the Rangers might be players in the off-season for the right free agent. Ideally, the player would be a cornerstone for the Rangers once they transition from rebuilding to contending again.
They will need pitchers to make that happen, more than what the Rangers currently have in their system, and one who might be a fit for them beat them Tuesday night.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin allowed three runs in seven innings to extend what is the finest season of his career. The timing couldn’t be better with free agency looming after the season.
He piles up the strikeouts but not the walks, and he has that pesky Tommy John surgery already out of the way. He will be 30 next season, so teams might not be jumping to give him a five- or six-year deal.
Daniels has also said that he is under no orders to dump salary, though that was an unintended bonus last month at the trade deadline.
Maybe that can be a down payment on a potential deal for Corbin. With the way free agency unraveled on the players last off-season, the Rangers should at least wade toward the deep end of the free-agent pool.