When I was a child, my dad had a horse named Tuff. Tuff was huge; sixteen hands tall. If you know horses, you’ll know what that means, but it’s okay if you don’t: it means “That's a real big horse”. Tuff was used for team roping, and he was a good heading horse. His height gave him a good angle to rope a steer and make a hard left turn, and his big bone structure meant he could keep his momentum, even with a 500-lb steer on the other end of the rope. But Tuff had a problem: if you didn’t keep him worn out, he would–and I’m not exaggerating–freak out in the middle of the night and run through a fence.
You’re probably wondering if you clicked on the right article. Yes, this is about baseball. It’s just that the Rangers also have a horse, and his name is Joey Gallo (or Joey Gallop, if you’re so inclined).
This is Joey Gallop pic.twitter.com/KOB7fPb0M9— Island of Dr Morneau (@DoctorMorneau) April 26, 2017
“It was exciting; I like it out there,” Gallo said after the game, before adding with a laugh: “…the run sucks, back to the dugout, especially when you’re leading off…”
Gallo led off twice tonight, and both times, he hammered baseballs over the right field wall. The first was such a mammoth shot that Giancarlo Stanton did not move an inch or even bother looking up as the ball soared well over his head and into the second deck. Normally, you’d expect at least a just-in-case turn, but in matters of identifying home runs, I’m okay deferring to Giancarlo Stanton.
It was Game #100 for the Rangers tonight, and perhaps the first one of the season in which they had the lineup that had envisioned when pitchers and catchers reported in Spring Training. Adrian Beltre at third, Shin-Soo Choo at DH, Mike Napoli at first, and Joey Gallo in left field. Gallo was the last chip to fall into place, getting a nagging hamstring issue fully under control.
It’s just one game with the lineup, but man was it ever an encouraging one. The Rangers offense had been slumping since the All-Star break, scoring a total of 34 runs in 11 games. Even that statistic doesn’t tell the full story: their highest-scoring of those games was a 9-7 loss.
Tonight, however, they just went buck wild for a few innings. In the third inning, after Mike Napoli had tied the game at one with a laser-beam homer to left, the dam broke, and the runs began to pour in. Gallo homered. Choo singled, and after an Andrus groundout, Nomar Mazara snapped an 0-for-26 slump with a single. Adrian Beltre hit a sac fly, then Napoli doubled off the wall. With runners at first and second, the Marlins intentionally walked Rougned Odor, and with the bases loaded, Jonathan Lucroy beat out an infield single that shortstop Mike Aviles couldn’t handle in time. By the time Carlos Gomez popped out, it was 4-1, and the Rangers had sent nine men to the plate.
That plan seemed to be working, so in the fourth, Gallo hit another leadoff home run. This one was followed later by an Andrus triple and another Mazara single. 6-1.
In the top of the fifth, Cole Hamels hit his lone bump in the road, walking Dee Gordon, then giving up a double to Stanton and a three-run home run from Christian Yelich. But the Rangers roared back immediately, sending another nine to the plate in the bottom of the inning and scoring a vengeful four additional runs, including a home run from Rougned Odor, and RBI from Choo and Andrus. By night’s end, seven of the nine Rangers had runs batted in.
The bullpen did their part as well, as has kinda… been… *looks around suspiciously* the norm lately?! Matt Bush, Keone Kela, and Jason Grilli worked scoreless 7th-8th-9th innings, and the Rangers had an authoritative win.
It’s a weird week to be doing things like making statement victories. After the team’s sweep at the hands of the Orioles last week, trading off some key pieces seemed like a foregone conclusion. But with the sweep of the Rays and now this 10-4 drubbing of the Marlins, this team does not look like they are ready to roll over just yet, and for the first time, the lineup is exactly as planned.
Gallo will get more time in left field - Banister said that he had just been waiting on the hamstring to be healthy (and if Gallo’s sprint to score from first on Choo’s double is any indication, it’s perfectly fine). It will be interesting to see how the next few games play out.
They’ll try to take the series from the Marlins tomorrow, before facing the Orioles for three leading up to the trade deadline.
Just, no one spook Joey Gallo at night, and don’t let him near any fences.