A thought occurred to Rangers Reaction.
Which was worse Sunday: The Texas Rangers’ 7-3 loss at Oakland or the Dallas Cowboys’ 16-8 loss at Carolina.
Let’s go to the tale of tape:
The Rangers actually led their game 3-0. The Cowboys never led, and their new kicker failed to provide them with three points.
Rougned Odor made two outs on the bases and a pretty lousy throw for one of the Rangers’ two errors. The Cowboys had one turnover and 10 penalties.
The Opener did well for the Rangers, but the “starter” was lousy and the experiment failed. Quarterback Dak Prescott was sacked six times and averaged 8.94 yards per completion with no TD passes, but he didn’t throw any interceptions (he did fumble, though).
The Rangers have been eliminated from playoff consideration and were playing Game No. 133 of the season. Not much is expected of the Cowboys this season, but they were playing their first game.
No one really cared about the Rangers’ game. A lot of people really cared about the Cowboys’ game.
Looks pretty clear: The Cowboys’ loss was worse, not that the Rangers should be patting themselves on the back.
Things were better for them Monday to open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 5-2 victory that snapped a four-game losing streak.
1. Not that anyone is counting, but the Rangers are down to 18 games remaining this season. That means Mike Minor will make at least two more starts, maybe three depending on how the schedule falls.
That’s two or three times that the Rangers won’t use an opener the rest of the season.
On Monday, the day after reliever Jeffrey Springs was great but starter Ariel Jurado wasn’t, general manager Jon Daniels made an admission: That was on the Rangers.
Jurado started warming up after the first inning, long-tossing in front of the stands at Oakland Coliseum before going to the mound with the expectation of pitching the third inning.
Springs, though, cruised through two inning and went back for the third. C.D. Pelham actually started to warm up in back of Springs while Jurado waited and then had to start warming up again. He was off from the start of the fourth inning and recorded only two outs while allowing five runs.
“It’s a challenging deal,” Daniels said. “In a perfect world he would continue to get minor-league innings. He’s not prepared to be up here whether he’s pitching the second inning or the first. He’s still got some things to work on. But the situation made it challenging.”
The solution? Well, Daniels made another admission. Actually two.
The Rangers will implement The Opener in the minors next season to get their pitchers ready to do it in the big leagues.
“We’re going to talk about it this winter, but I would think yes,” Daniels said. “Especially earlier in the season when the standings look different, it’s only fair if you’re asking them to do that for you in that circumstance to train them.”
And the Rangers are likely to use The Opener next season, especially if they call up their most advanced pitching prospects Joe Palumbo, Taylor Hearn and Jonathan Hernandez.
“I don’t think it’s realistic to do it five out of five days, but it’s something that we’ll look at,” Daniels said. “One of the questions that we’ll ask is will be the young starters be better off continuing to develop in the minor leagues or in the major leagues?
“If it’s the latter, does it help their development breaking in and not having to face a team’s best hitters three times? Conceptually it makes sense, but then you’ve got all the other factors.”
Finally, as was apparent Sunday, Daniels also made a fourth admission.
“There is an element of trial and error for us,” he said.
Jurado would agree.
2. Minor allowed one run in six innings, a performance that lowered his ERA to 4.19. That’s the lowest it’s been since his second start of the season April 7.
Could he get below 4.00? It’s not impossible. One way to do it: allow only one run over his next 10 innings.
Whatever happens the rest of the way, it’s hard to say that Minor hasn’t had a very good season in his first time as a starting pitcher since 2014. Entering Monday he was one of 15 MLB pitchers with at least 25 starts, a 1.100 WHIP and an opponent batting average of .234 or lower.
The WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitch) went up a tad after allowing six hits, two walks and a hit batsman, but he has a chance to finish the season with the eighth-lowest WHIP in club history.
There is no disputing that Minor has been terrific in the second half. His ERA since the All-Star break is 2.70, and the Rangers are 6-2 in his starts.
“The first half, the first couple months, were really bad,” Minor said. “I wasn’t attacking hitters the way I could and I wasn’t making pitches. Now I’m making more quality pitches and feeling more comfortable out there.”
3. The Rangers’ offense was fairly stagnant again Monday night, with the exception of the fourth inning. The first two batters reached and scored as Joey Gallo delivered a double down the right-field line, and Ronald Guzman hit a two-run homer two batters later.
Gallo also had an RBI single in the eighth.
In so doing, Gallo and Guzman moved closer what would rate as significant achievements in their young careers. Gallo needs 15 RBIs to reach 100 for the season, and Guzman needs two homers for what would be a single-season high since turning pro at 17.
“I’ve got a long way to go,” Gallo said. “That’s always cool. For me, I want to drive in as many runs as I can. That’s my job. A round number like that would be nice, but it’s not something I’m trying to lose sleep over. If it happens it happens.”
Gallo needs five homers for his second straight 40-homer season. With an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .810, Gallo is having a good offensive season despite his .210 average and 189 strikeouts.
Can he be hard to watch at the plate some nights? Yes.
Is he just another Rob Deer? No.
The standards by which seasons are judged are different these days than 10 years ago or 30 years ago. For those who don’t like it, get over it.
Gallo is having a good season at the plate.