Calhoun has career night in Rangers’ win over Orioles
Camden Yards is typically like a sauna in the summer, though there have been exceptions over the years.
The Texas Rangers’ series this weekend against the Baltimore Orioles is one of them.
The temperature Friday at first pitch was a chilly 69 degrees, with a breeze that was blowing in from center field. Three of the four Rangers beat writers broke out some piece of their Seattle gear.
The T-Mobile Park press box is the coldest place in the American League.
Temps are forecast to rise into the lower 80s on Saturday and Sunday, so shorts will be worn by one of the four beat guys.
That’s all I’ve got left that’s clean.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 7-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rangers have spent the season trying to get answers on players who might be part of the future. Among those who have checked the yes box — and there haven’t been many — is Willie Calhoun.
The left fielder had the first multi-homer game of his career by the third inning, accounting for all four of the Rangers’ runs to that point.
Calhoun finished 2 for 5 with a career-high four RBIs, and Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus also went 2 for 5 with RBI hits in the seventh inning. The Rangers hung on in the ninth after another adventurous save for Jose Leclerc.
The Rangers have believed that Calhoun would be a quality big-league hitter ever since they acquired him in the 2017 trade of Yu Darvish. With his improved conditioning has come better defense in left field and an intriguing possibility.
Joey Gallo could move to right field.
A lot would have to happen and not happen.
The Rangers would have to commit to Delino DeShields as their center fielder and not deal him away if an interested team came along.
They would have to decide if Nomar Mazara deserves a chance to be an everyday player or take whatever they can get for him in a trade.
They need to ride out the final year of Choo’s seven-year, $130 million contract or trade him to team that would make him waive his no-trade rights.
Playing Gallo in right field would make more use of his strong throwing arm than in left while taking wear and tear off his big body. DeShields’ plus-defense can help make up for any deficiencies Calhoun might still have in range and route running.
Again, a lot has to happen and not happen for Gallo to end up in right field next season, but don’t be surprised if it happens.
What a difference five days and three rounds of on-field batting practice can make.
On Monday, Gallo seemed uncertain if he would play again this season with his surgically repaired right hand still aching and weaker than he would have liked.
On Friday, he thinks he will be playing, perhaps by the end of the next homestand.
Gallo said that he will begin to face live pitching when the Rangers return home Tuesday. Batting practice has gone well, and he is closer and closer to unleashing his full swing.
“It’s coming along pretty well,” he said. “I’m excited to get back on the field.”
That didn’t seem to be the case Monday, when he said his grip was still lacking and he had concerns if he could swing at even 80 percent. He didn’t want to risk not being himself and taking a prolonged slump into the off-season.
“I just go based on how I feel,” Gallo said. “There have been some days that past few weeks where I didn’t think I’d be able to come back.”
The Rangers are considering bringing some pitchers in from Arizona to throw live BP to Gallo or giving relievers on the roster a chance to get some work.
One day of live BP won’t get him back on track. He will take as many as he can get to feel as comfortable as possible with his timing and rhythm before getting back into games.
But he does expect to play again this season less than a week after being unsure.
A bridge too far?
Brock Burke had the most trying start of his young MLB career, lasting only five innings and surrendering a career-high six runs. That was twice as many as he allowed in his first three starts.
He pitched only days after a stomach virus cost him eight or nine pounds. The Rangers weren’t sure if he would pitch at all as recently as Wednesday. They pledged to watch his workload, limiting him to 85 pitches, and quickly pull the plug at the first sign of issues.
The fifth inning, then, might have been an inning too far.
“After I got done with the warm-up bullpen I didn’t really feel too great,” Burke said. “It felt slow and not as strong as I normally did, and I think that played into the later innings. I started slowing down and the pitches weren’t where they normally are.”
Burke allowed home runs in the first two innings to fall into a 4-1 hole, and though he got through the third and fourth with little difficulty, he didn’t look right. His command looked off, and his velocity was down a mile per hour or two.
That’s not much, but it might have been enough.
“He didn’t have the finish on his pitches,” Woodward said. “He wanted to get through give innings, and he did. We asked him every inning how he was feeling.”
The first two homers were on fastballs, at 91 mph and 89 mph. Burke entered the game averaging 92.4 mph on his heater. The third homer, which put him in a 6-4 hole, came on a hanging curveball.
Maybe it was just an off night, but there’s reason to believe his stomach woes may have contributed to them.