Gil LeBreton

Odor just another struggling Ranger as Toronto to ‘welcome’ him

The Rougned Odor storyline for the ALDS has been reduced from “Public Enemy No. 1” to simply another Ranger who has only one hit through two games entering Game 3 Sunday in Toronto.
The Rougned Odor storyline for the ALDS has been reduced from “Public Enemy No. 1” to simply another Ranger who has only one hit through two games entering Game 3 Sunday in Toronto.

According to eyewitnesses, Public Enemy No. 1 passed quietly through the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse Saturday, with nary an eye — nor a camera — focused in his direction.

Neither the Toronto police chief nor a Maple Leaf enforcer with a hockey stick was there to greet Rougned Odor.

Instead, the Rangers second baseman dressed without fanfare and jogged out to the field for batting practice.

In May he was christened in the Toronto papers as “Public Enemy No. 1” for rocking the jaw of Jose Bautista. As recently as four days ago, he was the lightning rod in any analysis about the Blue Jays-Rangers rematch.

Back-to-back Toronto victories in Texas, however, appear to have dulled the Canadian media’s interest in Odor.

As well it should. Odor has only one hit — a third-inning single on Friday. He has been stranding runners, like all the other Rangers.

If there’s a chin-tight purpose pitch headed Odor’s way, it doesn’t seem as if it will happen in this series. Why not let sleeping Rougneds lie?

Certainly the Blue Jays fans at the Rogers Centre will see fit to boo Odor lustily Sunday night, his first appearance in front of them since The Punch. But a little booing never hurt anybody.

It was in the aftermath of the May brawl that Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman took to Twitter and announced, “Zero respect for Odor. Never had respect for him, never will.”

After serving a seven-game suspension for the fight, however, Odor returned to play without skipping a feisty beat. Though barely taller than the bat boy, he finished the season with 33 home runs and a .502 slugging percentage.

But that Odor hasn’t surfaced yet in this ALDS.

The Rangers stranded 13 runners in Game 2. They are still waiting for their first home run.

“Offensively right now we need to score some runs,” catcher Jonathan Lucroy said Saturday afternoon. “Guys need to step up, myself included, and drive some runs in. You can’t win if you don’t score runs.”

Lucroy shrugged because he was sounding like Captain Obvious. But he was right.

He also has an intimate perspective on what happened to the club’s starting pitchers in the first two games.

In talking about the Blue Jays’ lineup, Lucroy said, “You’ve got to go after them. They’re a very aggressive team, very fastball-oriented, mistake-driven team.

“That’s what makes them so good. They don’t miss mistakes.”

In the two games against the Jays, the Rangers’ starting pitchers — Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish — have combined to throw 8  1/3 innings, allowing 11 hits, 11 earned runs and 5 homers. That’s won’t cut the cheese in the MLB postseason.

Manager Jeff Banister echoed Lucroy’s fastball-hitters theme when discussing the Blue Jays.

“I believe they’re on the fastball. I think they’re looking for it,” Banister said.

“We’ve made some mistakes. We’ve had some unexecuted pitches, and they’ve capitalized. And we talked about it, pointing out that at this time of the year in these situations, to have unexecuted pitches, there’s such a razor-thin margin. The focus is heightened. And they’ve capitalized.”

Whether Colby Lewis can reverse that trend or not will be the main story Sunday night.

Not Rougned Odor. He’s just another Ranger with only one hit.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram