Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister loves this stuff.
Like most managers and coaches, Banister loves motivational quotes. He surveyed the media the other day for everyone’s favorite Muhammad Ali quote and often posts inspirational and motivational quotes on Twitter.
And then there are the other kind of motivational quotes. The kind that wind up on bulletin boards in the opponent’s clubhouse. In the case of the Rangers in 2016, that means an electronic bulletin board (television monitor) that normally flashes each day’s schedule along with meeting times, birthdays and the starting lineups.
Before Tuesday’s game with the Astros, however, it was two quotes from reliever Ken Giles that were prominently displayed on the video board.
We have more talent than this team does. That’s what I believe and we shouldn’t be losing these types of ballgames. We’re going to go out there tomorrow and put them to the ground.
Astros reliever Ken Giles, after a loss Monday night to the Rangers
“We have more talent than this team does. That’s what I believe and we shouldn’t be losing these types of ballgames. We’re going to go out there tomorrow and put them to the ground,” said Giles after the Rangers beat the Astros on Monday night.
But there was no “putting to the ground” for the Astros on Tuesday.
The Rangers won another close one, 4-3, as Ian Desmond ripped a two-run homer in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie. The Astros mounted a rally in the ninth, but Sam Dyson stuck out the final two batters to strand runners on the corners, preserve the win and earn his eighth save.
“What a team, what a great group of guys,” said Desmond, who was 2 for 4 and has a team-high 24 multi-hit games. “We work hard and it shows on the field, and I think the fans get to enjoy that.”
The Rangers’ dominance over the Astros keeps reaching new heights. They’ve now won the first eight games in the 2016 version of the Silver Boot Series, which is turning ugly for the Astros. Texas is 21-6 against Houston since the beginning of last season.
Cole Hamels was tagged for a two-run homer by Carlos Gomez in the second inning but battled through seven innings despite strong command and left with the game tied at 2-2.
Astros ace Dallas Keuchel allowed two runs through the first seven innings also, but was still in when Jurickson Profar singled with one out in the eighth. The next batter, Desmond, sent a 1-0 pitch over the center-field wall to put the Rangers up for the first time.
He’s got a lot to prove, really in his mind, which makes him a dangerous player. We’re lucky to have him.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister, on center fielder Ian Desmond’s home run
“This guy’s locked in in those situations,” Banister said. “He’s been there before. This is not new to him. He was an exceptional player over in Washington. He’s got a lot to prove, really in his mind, which makes him a dangerous player. We’re lucky to have him.”
Catcher Bobby Wilson snapped an 0 for 14 stretch with a two-hit game, including a fifth-inning homer that tied the game at 2-2.
“It feels real good. Any time you can get a hit off a Cy Young award winner it’s going to feel good,” said Wilson, who dismissed Giles’ bulletin board material. “We know they’re a good team and we don’t take it easy when they come to town. We know they can be a real powerhouse.”
In the ninth, Colby Rasmus led off with a double against Dyson, who walked Gomez with one out. Luis Valbuena singled to right to score Rasmus to make it a one-run game and give the Astros runners at the corners.
Dyson, who was pitching on consecutive nights for a league-high 12th time, ratcheted it up and hit 98 and 99 mph to strike out pinch hitter Tony Kemp and George Springer to end the game.
“That’s a great feeling. Definitely nice to finish off Mr. Ian’s clutch home run,” Dyson said. “Obviously, you want it to go more smooth, but that wasn’t the case.”
I think there’s plenty of motivation in here. We don’t need any extra.
Rangers closer Sam Dyson, dismissing Ken Giles’ quotes
He dismissed Giles’ quotes, too. “I think there’s plenty of motivation in here. We don’t need any extra,” he said.
After Valbuena’s single, Banister visited the mound to make sure the infielders were on the same page, and to settle down Dyson.
Before Tuesday’s game, Banister was coy about Giles’ quote being displayed in his team’s clubhouse. Of course, it wouldn’t have been there without his approval.
“Guys are competitive. They’re highly performing athletes,” he said. “This is intense, every player wants to win. They say things in the moment. I don’t tend to interpret those things in any one way. I don’t get into any of that mess … much.”
Rangers vs. Astros
7:05 p.m. Wednesday, FSSW, Root