Texas Rangers

Allard shows survival skills while taking another big step toward Rangers’ 2020 rotation

Globe Life Field has its first non-baseball act, and count it as a victory for the Texas Rangers over the Houston Astros.

Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy are coming to the new ballpark July 31. The Hella Mega Tour then packs up and heads to Minute Maid Park on Aug. 1.

Take that, Astros.

There will likely be many more in-season non-Rangers events at the New Globe, and possibly beven a couple before Green Day and crew invade Arlington.

Here’s a vote for a tractor pull.

July 31 is baseball’s trade deadline, and the Rangers are at Oakland. The Rangers failed to make any July 31 deals this year, but the player they received July 30 in the Chris Martin trade was on the mound Wednesday.

How did he fare against Astros?

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a fifth straight loss, this time 3-2.

Survival skills

At one point early on, Kolby Allard had thrown more balls than strikes.

He finally pushed his strike total to the positive side, though the ball count was running neck-and-neck all the way to his 91-pitch finish line.

Strikes win, 49-42.

Along the way, he walked four, hit one and endured an inning that was extended by a two-out error and a two-out walk. The Astros had a runner in every inning, but didn’t push a run across until Yuli Gurriel hit a two-run homer with two outs in the fifth inning.

Maybe Allard was effectively wild. Maybe he was pitching around unfavorable matchups.

“Kolby did a great job,” manager Chris Woodward said. “One thing about that team over there is they do their homework, and one thing Kolby at times has gotten in trouble with was his predictability. He knew that this game they were going to take certain pitches away from them and he had to go away from that.”

Whatever it was, he survived to give the Rangers a chance and took another step toward being in the rotation next season. The Rangers really like this kid.

But with Allard going only five innings, the bullpen was asked to keep the Rangers in the game. Edinson Volquez tossed a scoreless sixth, but Emmanuel Clase saw Jose Altuve go with a 100-mph fastball to right-center field for a solo shot in the seventh to turn a 2-1 deficit into 3-1.

First baseman Ronald Guzman started the eighth with a homer off Cole, and the Rangers put two more on before Willie Calhoun flied out to end the inning.

The put the first two on in the ninth against Roberto Osuna, but Rougned Odor struck out and Guzman grounded into a double play to end it.

Busy day

A left-hander pitching to a lineup heavy on right-handed hitters usually means a busy day for the left side of an infield, and third baseman Nick Solak and shortstop Elvis Andrus were busy.

Solak was especially busy.

The rookie, who is trying to learn how to play first base, was involved in five plays in just the first three innings. Two resulted in close at first base to end the first and second innings, one an infield hit of his body and another a popup to end the third.

Solak committed an error in the second on a play that should have ended the inning. He fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw to second went into right field.

The Rangers are trying to get him as much time at third base to determine if it’s a position he can play next season in case the Rangers don’t add a free agent in the off-season.

“I really wanted to see what he looked like at third,” Woodward said. “I like it. I think he can get better over there. I like his natural instincts over there. I know he’s working hard. It’s not a position you can just throw a guy over there and expect him to be Adrian Beltre.”

Andrus made the defensive play of the game for the Rangers on the first batter of the game. George Springer sent a grounder into the hole between second and third, and Andrus fielded it and did a jump throw to first to get him.

Guzman doing the splits on his stretch to the throw didn’t hurt, either.

Actually, it probably really hurt most men watching.

Strikeout Kings ride again

The Texas Rangers are no longer the solo MLB leaders in strikeouts. The Detroit Tigers have been kind enough to make it quite a race to the finish.

However, no Rangers team has ever struck out more than this one.

Danny Santana’s strikeout to end the first inning was the team’s 1,494th this season, breaking the 2017 record. They struck out 10 more times, and with nine games to go could get the all-time mark of 1,594.

Woodward said earlier this month that he doesn’t want the Rangers to get the record. He said it would put a blemish on the progress hitters have made this season while sticking to the process that was asked of them dating to the off-season and spring training.

The Rangers have done all this striking out without Joey Gallo, one of their most strikeout-prone hitters. He might be done for the season after flying from Arizona, where he had been rehabbing, to Dallas to visit the specialist who took the hamate bone out of Gallo’s hand in July.

Nothing to see there, apparently, but Woodward was uncertain about Gallo’s status the rest of the way even before the trip home was announced.

He shouldn’t play again. Why bother at this point?

The Strikeout Kings are doing just fine without him.

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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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