Texas Rangers

All-Star nod from peers would be just fine with Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo

Hunter Pence, deservedly, was voted by fans to start in the All-Star Game as the American League’s designated hitter.

Joey Gallo will have to wait. Until Sunday evening.

Gallo, who belted two home runs in the Texas Rangers’ 3-1, sweep-clinching win Thursday afternoon against the Detroit Tigers, knew he was a long shot to beat out the the nine other AL outfield candidates.

But he should be added to the team as a reserve when the rosters are announced. He deserves it on any basic statistical comparison, despite missing most of June with a strained oblique muscle.

“I was really happy about the walks, especially [Wednesday]. Kind of grinded out some at-bats to get them. I’ll take walks when I can get them. They’re really important for a player like me.”

“It probably would have helped me [Wednesday] more. Ah, people know who they’re going to vote for already,” Gallo said. “To be voted in by your peers, the guys you play against or the managers that you’re playing against, I think it says a lot for the player. Fan voting can be based on market size.”

Especially against a lefty, it’s nice. I don’t really do that too much. So it’s a kind of testament of what the hitting coaches have had me working on this season. Let the ball travel a little bit and trying to use the whole field because my power will play to any part of the fields. It’s good to see those results pay off.

Happy birthday Chris Woodward

When manager Chris Woodward arrived at his office in the clubhouse at Comerica Park Thursday morning, it was adorned with colorful balloons all over the floor, hanging from the ceiling and on the furniture.

Someone, he’s not sure who, wanted to make sure Woodward celebrated his 43rd birthday. Woodward joked that he doesn’t care to celebrate them since he turned 40. Who was the culprit? Likely Shin-Soo Choo, who is usually the first player to arrive at the ballpark. Woodward usually beats him there, but not on Thursday.

“I did want to get a win for him for his birthday. So it was nice to play pretty well and get a win for him,” Gallo said.

Gallo heaped praise on Woodward after learning the Rangers are a season-high nine games above .500. How much credit does Woodward deserve for that?

“A lot,” Gallo said twice for emphasis. “He’s changed the culture, changed the mentality of our team, and changed the atmosphere. He’s one of the best managers I’ve ever had in my life. We’re blessed to have him.”

The Rangers players, including Gallo, know full well what we experts in the media predicted for them in 2019.

“It’s crazy to hear we’re nine games over .500. In spring training no one would have ever thought that,” he said. “It says a lot about this team and this coaching staff.”

Tampa Bay series looms large

The Rangers trail the Rays by one game for the top wild card spot when the teams start three-game series Friday in Tampa. Texas is back in the second spot, a half-game ahead of Cleveland.

“They’ve been playing well. It’s a big series,” Gallo said. “but we’re taking the approach that every single game is a big game because you don’t want to get down the stretch and you miss by one or two games and you look back and think, ‘Man, if we had just closed that one out.’ It’s going to be an exciting series for sure.”

Ariel Jurado sets career high

Right-hander Ariel Jurado needed a big start and he got one. He held the Tigers scoreless over a career-high seven innings. He allowed six hits, a walk and struck out four. He improved to 5-3 with the win.

In his previous two starts (nine total innings), Jurado allowed a combined 11 runs on 15 hits with just three strikeouts.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.