Date: Monday, August 14th, 2017
Opponent: Detroit Tigers (53-64)
Starters: Michael Fulmer (10-9, 3.59) vs. Martin Perez (6-10, 5.18)
Jack White is at Globe Life Park tonight. He and Ian Kinsler are partners in the Warstic bat company (perhaps you recognize the name from seeing it on Jeff Banister’s t-shirt in pre- and post-game interviews. Ian Kinsler is also at Globe Life Park tonight, as the former Ranger has been a Tiger since 2014 and that’s who the Rangers are playing tonight. It’s the August 14th Baseball Texas Daily!
1. Jake Diekman, in full home white uniform and red game cap, threw another live batting practice today, facing Delino DeShields and Drew Robinson. He threw 27 pitches, and while his command is what you might expect from someone who had to spend a lot of time this year refraining from throwing baseballs, he was clocked at 91-94mph, which is encouraging. Two baseballs went over the right field fence: Drew Robinson hit one to the popcorn stand beyond the bleachers, and Diekman threw the other one.
“I feel good,” Diekman told us afterwards. “A lot stronger. I don’t have dead arm any more. I feel like my arm strength will continue to keep going (up). I tried to make it as realistic as possible. Tried to get pissed off before I went out on the mound. ...I even got more pissed off once Drew hit a homer. But I feel really good. I’m not sore right now; I feel like I could pitch again. I’m just going to get stronger and stronger and stronger.”
As for what’s next, Diekman has maintained since Minnesota that he’s ready for rehab assignment, but admits that “both parties” have to agree that it’s time before that can happen. Jeff Banister was also reluctant to speak to what comes next. “As always, I’m not going to speculate right now on what our next step is, (other than) our next step is to allow him 24 hours, then play catch & see how he feels, then make a decision on what the plan is after that.”
2. Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Gomez are out of the lineup today; Gomez is “under the weather” and Choo is “a little banged up”, according to Banister, but he also says that he expects both of them could be available for late-inning pinch-hitting duties if necessary. We’ll keep an eye on the situation tomorrow and see, but for now, it just seems like a recovery day for both of them. Gomez was hit by 8 pitches in 14 games coming into yesterday, so perhaps part of “under the weather” is “covered in bruises.” Banister reminded us that it wasn’t just the hit-by-pitches, either. He banged into the wall yesterday in an attempt to catch what ultimately became a double that led to the game-winning run for the Astros. And he has fouled a lot of pitches off his lower legs in the last week or two as well.
“I thought we were gonna have to perform something,” Banister joked (whether he meant surgery or an exorcism was unclear). “There was one night he got hit twice and fouled the ball off himself three times. You can see why he doesn’t feel good.”
3. With Gomez out, it is Drew Robinson, not Delino DeShields that gets the start in center field. The reason for that, Banister says, is that Robinson is also currently the backup shortstop. So if anything should happen to Andrus, Banister doesn’t want to have to lose his DH. Thus, Robinson is in center field and DeShields will lead off as the DH.
4. Martin Perez will try to repeat the success of his last start tonight. An interesting stat: when Perez can get batters to swing at the first pitch of an at-bat (146 plate appearances this season), those batters are hitting .250 off of the lefty. Batters who take the first pitch (404 plate appearances) are hitting .331. The former have an OPS of .706, the latter slide in at .896.
Based on those numbers, Perez is getting 26.5% of batters to swing at the first pitch this season. In his last start, the eight-inning, three-hit, no walk, five-strikeout, 5-1 win over the Mets, he got 11/27 to swing at the first pitch. That’s 40.7%.
It's not earth-shattering to say that a pitcher will have more succcess if he gets more first-pitch swings, but I did think it was interesting.
That’s all for now! Enjoy the start of the Rangers / Tigers series, and we’ll see you tomorrow on the Daily.
“Hardcore History” by Dan Carlin. It’s not music, it’s a history podcast, but it’s what I’m listening to for the time being. If you’re not familiar, Carlin puts out reeeeeally long (like, six-hour) podcasts about specific stories in history. His new episode is about Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul.
(Apple Podcasts, Website)
During the regular season, these recommendations occasionally come from Rangers players, broadcasters, or other people around the team (here’s a complete list). If there’s a player or person you’d like Levi to ask for a music recommendation, shoot him an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or a tweet here.
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