Date: Wednesday, May 3rd
Rangers’ Record: 11-16 (T-4th place, 7.0 games behind Houston)
Tonight’s Opponent: Houston Astros
Tonight’s Starters: Nick Martinez (0-0, 2.77) vs. Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.50)
It's May 3rd, and on this very date in 2015, the Texas Rangers fell to 8-16 on the season when Yovani Gallardo lost at home to Sonny Gray and the Athletics. The Rangers were not a good team then. They were missing Yu Darvish and Wandy Rodriguez was in the rotation. The franchise had just endured a 2014 season where everyone’s faces fell off into a bowl of scalding soup, their arms grew gremlins that burst forth and reigned terror on entire city blocks, their backsides developed debilitating cysts (just kidding! That one happened in 2015), and their souls splintered into pieces and each piece grew an entire new soul (like a bisected earthworm(s?)) and fought to the death for control of the corporeal machine in which they were trapped.
But something happened in 2015, starting the next day: they went to Houston and won three games in a row. And they just kind of slowly kept creeping back towards the top. There was talk of them being sellers right up until the actual trade deadline. Remember? We all wondered where Yovani Gallardo would spend August and September, and at the last minute, well, you know the rest: Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman, and Cole Hamels…
Wow, actually... hang on. This was a lot less depressing article about 15 seconds ago…
It’s the baseball Texas Daily.
1. Cole Hamels has a right oblique strain, and will miss the next 8 weeks. We almost got one turn through the six-man rotation. Almost. It was going to be interesting to see who won the newly-fascinating Nick Martinez / A.J. Griffin competition for the fifth starter. Now we just hope they can both stay healthy until Tyson Ross gets here.
The eight-week stint on the DL will be the longest of Hamels’ career.
2. Ah right, the Rangers lost last night. Here’s that story. It was a good game if you had no emotional stake in the outcome. Even better if you were an Astros fans. For Rangers fans, it was pretty painful.
-interlude for introspection and grief mechanism employment-
3. I don’t often run out of ideas, but the Hamels injury pretty much *is* the news of the day, if not the season. So I took suggestions from Twitter. Here they are, in order:
a. Why Bother? - Brice
I don’t know, Brice. We all do this to ourselves at least once in our lives: we fall in love with something that does not have the bandwidth to care back. Perhaps the most common is a parent who loves a child who once relied on them for life, but whose sense of irony is not developed enough to focus on just how fleeting and temporary our time together is, while the loss of that time is irreversible and permanent. Much more tragic is the child who loves a parent whose own ability to love has been damaged, leaving the child to make up his or her own definition of love in a language known only to the speaker (or doer, or giver, or hugger). Other examples of things that cannot love us back include:
b. Colby Lewis - Heef
Well, here’s the thing about Colby Lewis: the Rangers actually already have a five-man rotation, until Tyson Ross gets back in about three(? four?) weeks. If Nick Martinez and/or A.J. Griffin had been terrible, and if the Rangers were in contention, then I would be more inclined to blow the panic flute and watch the Colbra rise from his slumber. But the problem hasn’t really been either of those guys, the problem has been Martin Perez and the bullpen.
And the offense. Can Colby hit?
c. Are the Rangers due for a regression to the mean, in a good way? - Sean
You’d like to think so, wouldn’t you? I think that’s the case with Rougned Odor and is already starting to look like the case for Nomar Mazara, who has been Mitch-Moreland-streaky. Those guys are still young, and one should expect incremental improvement as they approach their mid-to-late 20s. I think the Elvis we see this year looks a lot like last year’s version, so that’s (hopefully) about what you can expect for the rest of the season. Joey Gallo looks like he is living his best life: low batting average, high power, high strikeouts, high walks.
I think you can expect improvements from Jonathan Lucroy, who has not been this bad in a very long time. He homered last night, so maybe that’s already coming.
But I don’t know if we’re going to see a positive regression from Mike Napoli, who is baseball-old at 35. Adrian Beltre’s presence on the DL is unfortunate, but also not entirely unexpected. Cole Hamels is 33. It’s entirely that Martin Perez is done growing and is just the pitcher we see.
I have to think the bullpen is better than this, but I don’t have much hard evidence lately to back that up. Predicting bullpen performance is about as productive as predicting route efficiency for little leaguers. Once in awhile, you’ll get one that really gets it, but mostly a good bullpen is good until it is bad, at which point it becomes a bad bullpen. If that sounds simplistic, allow me to also make it redundant: this has been a bad bullpen, and will remain so until it is good, and then it will be a good bullpen again. That’s just math.
4. Nick Martinez got an entire article written about him by our own Matt Fisher. Martinez starts tonight, but I bet if you ask him, he would tell you he’s more excited about the article.
Today is a (nearly) blind recommendation. I saw a band called Speedy Ortiz in my Spotify friends’ feed. I have thus far listened to one song, titled “No Below”, from their 2013 album “Major Arcana”. It’s a female-fronted lo-fi grunge outfit with some vulnerable-sounding lead vocals and a vibe that makes me remember the best of the hundreds of tiny-venue shows I went to in Deep Ellum between 2002-2004. It has the explicit tag on it, so this is not a work- or kids-friendly listen.
(Spotify, Apple Music, 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.
You can follow Levi Weaver on Twitter at @ThreeTwoEephus, or for fewer puns and more straight-forward Baseball News updates, you can follow us at @BaseballTX, or download the app and get in-game updates and notifications by clicking on the logo below!