Texas Rangers

Is Gallo’s early success the result of Rangers’ off-season changes to the coaching staff

“I figured Trout would have hit seven homers”

Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo is the American League Player of the Week, but he said it must be because Mike Trout didn’t go off at the plate.
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Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo is the American League Player of the Week, but he said it must be because Mike Trout didn’t go off at the plate.

The best dining option in the American League can be found at its worst ballpark.

For three years now, Oakland Coliseum has welcomed food trucks onto its grounds for each game, and they know how to cook at fairly reasonable prices.

Rangers Reaction typically goes for a burrito, as was the case Monday, but has enjoyed a french dip and even etouffee in the past.

The trucks change out each day.

The concept is really a good one, and the hope here is that the trucks are making money at games with crowds like the one for the opener of this Texas Rangers series.

For anyone coming here, first get a tetanus shot. Then, try the food trucks.

The food was better than the game Monday.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 6-1 loss to the Oakland A’s.

1. Joey Gallo isn’t going to throw any of his past coaches under he bus. He is actually overly cautious to not do that. His hitting early this season, though, seems to be doing that for him.

So does the stuff we can’t see or hear. The work in the batting cages. The conversations with hitting coaches and manager Chris Woodward in which Gallo apparently is pouring out his baseball fears and confronting them.

Maybe it’s as simple as a player needing a new voice. Maybe the the previous set of coaches would be having the same success had they been part of the data revolution the Rangers have embarked upon.

That just isn’t the case.

Gallo has mentioned repeatedly that the new staff is oozing positivity. Gallo has been cheered after making outs while sticking to his new process.

Just Monday, Woodward said that he called Gallo into his office to tell him that he would be proud of Gallo if his OPS was .500 instead of 1.116 as the freshly crowned American League Player of the Week.

Gallo finally is starting to understand that it’s OK to not get a hit every time there’s runner in scoring position. There won’t be any talk of him going to Triple A Nashville if he slumps, and he shouldn’t feel that’s a possibility.

Make no mistake that Gallo has put in work with the new staff and is applying those things. He has an extra year’s experience, which can’t hurt either.

But the new culture in the clubhouse is allowing Gallo to thrive.

“I don’t want our guys to be happy about failing,” Woodward said. “I think he’s more prepared to deal with failure now than he ever has been. And success.”

2. Mike Minor didn’t pitch poorly, though he did compared to the shutout he threw his last time out. Just some dicey location on a couple and two walks in the sixth that turned into runs.

“I think it was pretty much the whole game,” Minor said.

Curiously, as things were starting to slip in the sixth, the bullpen hardly budged. Jeanmar Gomez started to warm only moments before Delino DeShields robbed Stephen Piscotty of a two-run double and Ramon Laureano bounced to third to end the inning.

That again says much about the coaching staff, but also about how far Minor has come. In a way, it says something about the rest of that pitching staff.

Minor is the Rangers’ ace, and he was given a chance to get out of it. Such faith hasn’t been instilled in starters the past few seasons. Lance Lynn gets the same consideration.

The rest? Well, they taxed the bullpen over the weekend even though the Rangers won 2 of 3 from the Houston Astros. That also had something to do with the longer leash Minor had.

3. Gio Gonzalez, who sat through the winter with out a job until spring training was nearly over, is a free agent again after the left-hander opted out of his minor-league contract with the New York Yankees.

The Rangers are three games above .500, and some players are saying they need one more starting pitcher to really make a difference. Gonzalez’s deal with the Yankees was for a base of $3 million with incentives, which sounds pretty reasonable.

The Rangers, as has been well-documented, are short on starting pitchers. They have five now, one of them, Adrian Sampson, was considering a key piece of depth in the minors before the season.

Gonzalez, who has a 3.69 career ERA, would be an upgrade. There’s no doubting that. He has been going through a spring training of sorts at Triple A, and pitched well in his past two outings.

Does it make sense? Yes. Will the Rangers go there? Doubtful.

Even if they did, other teams might be more desperate than the Rangers. The Boston Red Sox are having issues, especially with Nathan Eovaldi reportedly headed under the knife. The Milwaukee Brewers, with whom Gonzalez finished last season, and the New York Mets have their own rotation problems.

They also have designs on reaching the postseason, and are considered contenders to do so. Rangers players believe they can win, and that’s why some of them are quietly hoping for Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, though, might not share the same thoughts, and Rangers brass might not be so sure, either.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.


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