Sticking with it pays off for Delino DeShields
The Texas Rangers’ first road trip of the season is over.
Six games. Two wins.
So, not great. It could have been better had Mike Trout injured his groin last weekend instead of Tuesday night. It could have been worse had the Rangers not figured out Robbie Ray or pulled Jose Leclerc on Wednesday night.
Leclerc has gone from dominant to dormant in the matter of a week.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a dicey 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
1. Rangers Reaction isn’t sure how much breaking up a no-hitter adds to a player’s confidence, but it’s unlikely Delino DeShields is going to give the hit back.
He sure as heck isn’t going to give back the go-ahead single an inning later.
DeShields’ single to start the sixth ended Robbie Ray’s no-hit bid, and DeShields stole second, went to third on a throwing error and scored as Logan Forsythe followed with another single.
The Rangers would load the bases with no outs and fail to score, and they were on the verge of stranding Isiah Kiner-Falefa at second in the seventh until DeShields’ two-out single to right of Archie Bradley gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
“I’m just going to keep working and keep trusting what I’m doing,” DeShields said. “The coaches and the players, everybody believes in what I can do. It makes some coming to the park a little easier. I appreciate that.”
Manager Chris Woodward’s wish entering the season was for DeShields to be among the group of players who got a taste of early success. Joey Gallo got it, though he had a rough one Wednesday.
DeShields was batting .107 entering Wednesday and only .100 after two hitless at-bats, but he finished with his first multi-hit game of the season and his race around the bases is something else Woodward can highlight.
He has believed that DeShields’ wheels can change a game, and that’s what happened at Chase Field.
The Rangers went from out of it at the plate to right back in it. DeShields reaching third forced the Arizona infield in, and Forysthe was the beneficiary as his liner got past shortstop Nick Ahmed.
“To see him get the big hit there off Bradley was a huge moment, and it was huge for him,” Woodward said. “Every time he’s in the lineup I tell him if he goes, we go. When he’s on base, he’s a special players and makes our offense that much better.”
DeShields, of course, still has more catching up to do. But he also has a bit more confidence than he did entering Wednesday.
2. The Rangers’ bullpen was in good shape Wednesday, and Woodward didn’t need Lance Lynn to throw 111 pitches in six innings to give the less of a load to carry.
Thursday is another off day for the Rangers, too.
But Lynn, who wasn’t as efficient as he was last week at Anaheim, kept pumping until he got the Rangers though six innings in a 1-1 tie and became the pitcher of record after DeShields’ go-ahead single.
“Once a big body gets going, it’s hard to stop,” Lynn said. “I was able to hang around along for the offense to keep stringing things together, and we ended up getting a win.”
Lynn would have liked to have spread those 111 pitches over seven, eighth or nine innings, but he isn’t one who enjoys coming out after four or five.
And, boy, he is in a much more talkative mood after a win than after a loss. After he allowed two runs in seven innings Friday in a 3-1 loss, he wasn’t very chatty.
Which start did he like more?
“I’ll take them both,” Lynn said. “But when you lose a game, you don’t feel too hot about it. For me, it’s going as long as you can and keeping your team in and giving them a chance to win.”
3. Rangers Reaction did two radio shows Wednesday with the final people in Waco and Tyler, and spoke glowingly about progress Gallo was making ... just in time for his worst game of the season.
Gallo struck out in his first four at-bats, including in the sixth with the bases loaded and no outs, and lined out in his last. His .219 average entering the game (hey, it was 15 points higher than hsi career average) is now .189.
That puts Rangers Reaction in the same jinx realm as Ted Cruz.
But it says here that Gallo is in a much better place than he was a season ago as he has a better idea of the strike zone. He showed that Wednesday, as he wasn’t chasing pitches out of the zone.
He just got beat.
The key is he still believes that the path he is on is the right one and is committed to it. That might be easier said than done, but one bad night shouldn’t shake his faith.