Date: Saturday, July 29th
Rangers’ Record: 50-52 (T-2nd, 18 games behind Houston)
Wild Card Position: (T-5th of 12, 4.5 games out)
Tonight’s Opponent: Baltimore Orioles (48-54)
Tonight’s Starters: Kevin Gausman (7-7, 5.79) vs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx (3-0, 4.53)
This is perhaps the last chance I’ll have to lay this scenario out there, but there’s a very real possibility that three franchise-defining moments could happen, literally, simultaneously. Imagine, if you will: Pudge Rodriguez’ name is announced, and he strides to the podium to give his speech, having been inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame. As he opens his mouth to say the first word, Adrian Beltre’s bat connects with a fastball and it sails through the air en route to landing safely in the outfield grass for hit #3,000 in his career. And just before the first word, just before the ball lands, Ken Rosenthal hits “send” on a tweet that reads something along the lines of “Sources confirm: Darvish to the Dodgers.”
Those three things could all literally happen at the exact same second.
But if the universe is kind, Beltre will get two hits tonight, allowing Pudge a Sunday afternoon to hold everyone’s attention with his well-deserved Hall of Fame induction, and the fate of Yu Darvish will become clear on Monday.
In the meantime, we have a pitch-tipping scandal to get to! It’s the July 29th Baseball Texas Daily!
1. Adrian Beltre 3,000th Hit Watch: Beltre is at 2,998 after getting two hits in Friday night’s 8-2 win over Baltimore. Beltre has just TWO HITS TO GO, with five games left in this homestand. If you can get to tonight’s game, you should.
NUMBERGENERATOR.ORG PICK A NUMBER BETWEEN ONE AND THREE THOUSAND: 2,159
Finally! Numbergenerator.org has given us a number that correlates to a hit that Beltre got as a Ranger. This one happened in Boston on August 6th, 2012. Yu Darvish started, so of course the Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead only to stop scoring there. Darvish had a bad day, giving up six runs on 11 hits in 6⅔ innings, then Michael Kirkman gave up three more before Tanner Scheppers got the final two outs.
In the top of the ninth, with the team trailing 9-1, Adrian Beltre hit a 1-1 pitch from Junichi Tazawa to left-centerfield to make it 9-2, but after a Nelson Cruz single, Tazawa retired David Murphy, Mike Napoli, and Geovany Soto to end the game. It was Beltre’s 19th home run of the season.
We’ll keep doing this every day until Beltre gets his 3,000th hit.
Sources: Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches in his last start. Goes a long way to explaining why he allowed 10 runs, the most in his career.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 29, 2017
Two scouts and an executive said Marlins knew what was coming from Darvish. A slight pause with hands when he was throwing his fastball.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 29, 2017
Darvish replied in English, something he rarely does.
Thanks for sharing this. https://t.co/EeQReRuQW5— ダルビッシュ有(Yu Darvish) (@faridyu) July 29, 2017
Later, he did something else he hasn’t done since I started covering the team last year. He spoke to reporters in English and explained that the thank you wasn’t sarcastic; he was being sincere: “ I don't know why the Marlins scout said that to the media,” he smiled “Because I can fix it! You know?”
When we asked what the “tell” was, he took his glove and a ball out of his locker and began to show us, almost like he was coaching a group of reporters. He got into the stretch position, and began:
“For the last two years, since I came back from Tommy John, when I throw a fastball, my hand is moving,” he said, holding the ball near his hip and spinning it with his fingers before going to his glove with it as he stood and came to a set. “And then breaking ball, like this.” (No movement. Just a pause, then to the glove. “That's 100%. But the manager told me during the game (in Kansas City), and I fixed that. So I get to Tampa; I feel like they don't know what's coming.”
“And then the last outing, I felt like they knew it. I didn't know if I was tipping or not.” He mentioned feeling “weird”, like they knew. Then he said that after Passan’s tweet came out today, he took to the video room and discovered: the scouts were right.
“I watched the video, and when I would throw a fastball, I paused,” Darvish brought the ball to his glove and paused at the waist before bringing it up to his chest. “And then breaking ball was faster,” he put the ball in his glove and raised it to his chest with almost no pause at all.
“In the first inning, Gordon hit the homer, and then after that, the other homer. At that time, I felt weird. Then I got through the third inning, and didn't feel anything. But the fourth inning, finally, they hit me.”
So that’s the explanation of what happened in this case. But is there blame to be had?
3. I asked Darvish if that’s something that a pitching coach or a catcher should be picking up on to help him out. He shrugged. “It's hard to find.” Jeff Banister had significantly more to say.
“Those things get noticed every single day. They get noticed from our dugout on their guys. You know what we don’t do? Is go tell the rest of the world. Right? There are guys who are going to pitch tonight across (baseball), and they’re doing things that you can pick up and maybe you can’t see them from the batter’s box, but you still have to hit the ball. Everybody’s always looking for it, but, they are challenging to pick up. Similar to the Kansas City situation, You wonder why, with this guy’s dynamic stuff, the hitters are on the velocity of every pitch, the antenna goes up, and you have to figure out what it is. But to think you’re going to pick up every little nuance in real time, it doesn’t happen every day. The success of it, If they knew every pitch he was throwing, how come they didn’t hit every single one? I know I'm being...”
(My response was that, well, they hit enough of them; it was Darvish’s worst start ever.)
“Time out. Worst start ever? Well … that’s pretty harsh.”
(Me: “Even as far back as Japan, he has never given up ten runs before. But to the point, not to put words in your mouth, is it fair to paraphrase this by saying that this sort of thing happens nightly, you catch some of them, sometimes the other guy catches them first and that’s just part of the game?)
Banister: "We scout ourselves every night. We scout the other team every night. The pair of eyes that are on everything going on on the field. These are things everybody looks for. They get fixed … go look at the Kansas City [game] … the first two innings and then what happened after that? We’d love to think everything that’s possible gets seen and there are people who are charged with watching and scouting. Sometimes subtly in real time get through.”
Someone else asked if this was it discussed between Yu and Brocail or Banister during the game?
“We have discussions about a number of things throughout the game. It runs the gamut of a variety of things. It still comes down to there are times when things like that do happen and there are also the continuation of executing pitches. We still have to do both. Let’s give this the appropriate time it deserves ...and I think we’re right at that point.”
I asked Jonathan Lucroy if he would like to go on record about the issue and he politely declined. “It’s probably better if I don’t,” he smiled.
4. Tyson Ross and A.J. Griffin are pitching rehab starts. Griffin goes for Round Rock tonight and Ross will pitch Monday for Frisco.
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!