The Texas Rangers didn’t take pregame batting practice Tuesday afternoon, in part because some of them had gotten in some cuts in the early morning.
The Rangers were still playing in the early hours Tuesday to complete the opener of the four-game series against the New York Yankees. Following a ninth-inning rain delay of 3 hours, 35 minutes, the Rangers scored four times once play resumed at 2:15 a.m. to rally to a 9-6 victory.
Most returned to Yankee Stadium a little later than normal Tuesday, but none complained of a lack of sleep even though many who were asked said that they didn’t fall asleep until around 5 a.m. They were able to sleep six to eight hours after admittedly still being a little wound up from their late victory.
“For our guys to stay so engaged through the rain delay, determined to go back on the field and at least have their shot at finishing the game in a competitive manner on the field was, in my opinion, second-to-none and pretty spectacular,” manager Jeff Banister said.
The win was the Rangers’ 50th of the season, making them the first MLB team to reach that plateau. An MLB-leading 25 of those victories have come after the Rangers have trailed at some point.
The delay was the second-longest in club history, well behind a 7:23 delay Aug. 12, 1990, at Comiskey Stadium in Chicago. The 2:44 a.m. final out is believed to be the latest a Rangers game has ever ended.
“It was unbelievable,” said second baseman Rougned Odor, who homered in the eighth inning to pull close at 6-5. “When we started the game again, I knew we were going to come back in that game. I trust my teammates. I trust everybody here. I knew we could come back, and we did it.”
Chi Chi Gonzalez knows that his performance over five innings Monday, allowing five runs on 10 singles, wasn’t his best effort, but the right-hander also did enough right to likely merit another start this weekend.
Banister said that the Rangers saw better secondary offerings from Gonzalez in the past, but his sinker wasn’t as good as it was last season when he burst onto the scene by allowing only one run in his first 29 2/3 innings.
“It hasn’t been as consistent, but there are signs that it’s there,” Banister said. “It’s not just the turbo sink. There are times when the balls were darting in a cutting action also.”
Gonzalez said that he feels as if he’s auditioning to be Colby Lewis’ permanent injury replacement, which he is.
“I made some pitches when I needed to, and then I didn’t make some pitches when I needed to,” Gonzalez said. “I want to make the most of every opportunity. If I do well, that means the team does well and I’m giving them a chance to win.”
Nick Martinez, scheduled to start Wednesday, is in the same boat. He recognizes that he needs to make an impression to stick around after Derek Holland and Yu Darvish return from the disabled list, but he doesn’t feel any pressure to perform.
“Every start your first three years of your major league career you’re auditioning for your team,” said Martinez, who allowed four runs in six innings Friday against Boston. “You’re showing them that you can be an established starter.”
▪ Darvish (shoulder tightness) will throw three 15-pitch innings Wednesday in a simulated game at Yankee Stadium. Pitching coach Doug Brocail said that the next step will depend on how Darvish feels Thursday. He could begin a rehab assignment if all goes well.
▪ Holland (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to play catch Wednesday in Arlington for the first time since his June 20 start. Brocail said that the Rangers could use an impending rehab assignment to also refine Holland’s mechanics.
▪ Keone Kela (elbow impingement) is scheduled to throw one inning in a simulated game Thursday at Triple A Round Rock. He could remain there and begin a rehab assignment as soon as Sunday.
Brocail said none of the three pitchers are expected to return before the All-Star break.
Futures Game picks
High A infielder Travis Demeritte and Double A first baseman Ronald Guzman were selected to play in the July 10 Futures Game as part of the All-Star festivities in San Diego.
Demeritte’s 20 homers for High Desert, which plays in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the minors, are the most in the California League. Guzman is having his finest professional season in Frisco, where he is batting .290 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs.