Texas Rangers

Cabrera keeps hitting at home, mixes in double play from his pockets in Rangers’ win

Woodward was hoping for big games by Odor, Smyly

The Texas Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday behind Drew Smyly and Rougned Odor, just as manager Chris Woodward had hoped.
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The Texas Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday behind Drew Smyly and Rougned Odor, just as manager Chris Woodward had hoped.

That was a perfect day for baseball at Globe Life Park.

It wasn’t too hot or too windy. There weren’t too many clouds in the sky or too many hairy dudes going shirtless.

The roof at the new place better be open for days like this.

The home team won, too, for those keeping score.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 10-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

1. Asdrubal Cabrera has no explanation his success at Globe Life Park, where he has always been able to his for power during his 13-year career. But he’s taking it to an extreme in 2019.

He entered Friday slugging above .500 in 40 career games in Arlington and added to it with an RBI double for the game’s first run in the second and a three-run homer the next inning.

Cabrera has 10 career doubles and 10 career homers at the Globe, with four doubles and all seven of his 2019 homers at home.

“It’s hard to tell,” Cabrera said. “I come to do my job every day no matter where, man.”

Manager Chris Woodward said that the switch-hitting Cabrera is able to handle the bat well, which enables him to make contact with a variety of pitches and hook balls into the stands.

He just needs to start doing it on the road, where he has collected only one of his 23 RBIs. The whole lineup needs to be better away from home (more on that later).

But the Rangers aren’t complaining about Cabrera, who has also shown to be a capable defender at third base. He had to noteworthy plays Sunday, one of which came from his backside.

Cabrera flagged hard one-hopper by Danny Jansen but was knocked to his keister. Undeterred, Cabrera made a strong throw from the dirt to second base to start a double play that ended the fifth.

An inning later, Randal Grichuk hit a ball down the third-base line that Cabrera made a nice stop on before throwing to first for the out.

“I was working hard in spring training,” Cabrera said. “I always said the more I play, the more comfortable I feel.”

He’s no Adrian Beltre, but he’s holding his own just fine.

2. Drew Smyly pitched only four innings in his first start off the injured list, and that was by design. The Rangers didn’t want to extend him too much in his first start off the injured list.

Pretty prudent of them.

Because of the short leash, Smyly was denied a chance at his first victory since 2016, but the Rangers won for the first time in one of his starts and his outing was an encouraging one.

The left-hander allowed only one run, on an Eric Sogard homer. Smyly pitched out of trouble for a scoreless fourth inning, and was done at 68 pitches.

He could have been more efficient, though he wasn’t as inefficient as he has been in the past. He commanded all of his pitches, which has been an issue in previous starts.

The assumption is that he will be allowed to slowly build up his arm strength until he has no pitch limit, and that’s the direction he thinks he is headed.

Smyly considers his IL stint a break that he needed after all the throwing he did in spring training and the first few starts to the season while returning from Tommy John surgery.

It’s perfectly normal for pitchers to have these kinds of hiccups after Tommy John. The Rangers know that as well as any franchise, and Smyly knew it, too, and believes that break will propel him to the end of the season.

Check back on that one in a couple months. Check back next weekend to see if what he did Sunday was the start of something or just a mirage.

3. The Rangers hadn’t scored in double digits since last Sunday in the finale of their seven-game road trip. A nine-game road trip begins Tuesday, when the trick will be if the Rangers can again hit on the road.

They scored 29 runs in the last two road games. It’s unreasonable to expect that kind of scoring every road game, but it’s not unreasonable to expect that a similar approach to the one used last weekend at Seattle can’t be employed going forward.

The Rangers will play two games at Pittsburgh to open the trip, and the two games under National League rules are buying the Rangers time to make the touch choice on which player will lose his roster spot to make room for first baseman Ronald Guzman.

He’s expected to be reinstated from the IL on Thursday before the first of four games against the Houston Astros. Woodward might have hinted at what will happen when asked if he had any plans to get Danny Santana a game in center field soon.

Yes, was the answer, because of the possibility that Delino DeShields could be optioned for Guzman.

The Rangers are still carrying eight relievers, a safeguard against short outings being delivered by most of the rotation. Exchanging, say, Ariel Jurado for Guzman would be clean and easy, but having only seven relievers might not be sustainable.

Santana played center field throughout spring training, showing off a terrific arm, and has more games there in his career than any other position.

To option DeShields would ensure that the Rangers have an eight-man rotation and that Santana and Logan Forsythe remain with the team. Designating either one of them for assignment pretty much punches their ticket to another team.

The world wouldn’t end if that were to happen, but it would hurt the Rangers considering their shortfall of talent at Triple A.

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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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