Date: April 7th
Rangers’ Record: 0-3 (5th, 2.5 games behind HOU)
Tonight’s Opponent: Oakland Athletics
Tonight’s Starters: Raul Alcantara (0-0, 0.00) vs. A.J. Griffin (0-0, 0.00)
It is the final game of the 0-0 starter, the last of the un-walked-upon snow. After tonight, the Rangers will be either 1-3 (the same record as last season, in which they won the division) or 0-4 (a record they have not seen since 1991, when they did not win the division). The fourth game of the season is never a must-win game in a 162-game season, but the sooner you can eliminate the 1988 Orioles possibility, the better.
Welcome to the April 7th Baseball Texas Daily!
1. Nomar Mazara talked to the media for quite some time today about his hot start. Here’s some video…
...but the best part of the conversation came after the camera was turned off. He admitted that his confidence was higher right now than at any point last season. It makes sense: last season, he was a 20-year-old rookie. This year, he’s a 21-year old veteran. If that sounds tongue-in-cheek, consider that at the end of that video up there (for those of you who didn’t or couldn’t watch it) he talked about his even-keel temperament and said these words, in this order:
“When I was like, probably five, I was kinda crazy a little bit, but I started growing up and my parents did a good job.”
I accidentally made the entire baseball internet talk about uniform numbers this week because I am still an adolescent, even at 37. Nomar Mazara? He was starting to grow up at six years old.
Here’s the rest of the conversation about his approach this year:
“I have a better plan this year. I know what I felt when I was struggling, but right now I’m just trying to stick with my plan, look for my pitch earlier in the count, and if they don’t throw it to me, we’ve got eight more guys in the lineup that can do it, too.”
On if he has a better idea of how pitchers are trying to pitch him: “Definitely, especially knowing what the situation is. They’re going to try to make me unbalance, but like I said, I’m just going to stick with my plan.” “In the second half (…) they’d throw little breaking balls in the dirt way outside, and fastballs way in, to see how I would react. They didn’t throw me a lot of cookies. So I was rushing to get hits, to try to put the ball in play, and it wasn’t happening.”
“I didn’t figure it out until ...September? I thought it was something with my mechanics, but it wasn’t my mechanics. I would tell my hitting coach I was feeling good, I was just getting jammed with the pitches inside. I didn’t know what was happening. They were throwing a lot of breaking balls, so I wasn’t looking for the fastball, I was looking breaking ball, like ‘don’t try to chase’, but I was still chasing, so when they threw me my pitch, I wasn’t ready for it.”
2. Mazara’s manager also weighed in: “Early in Spring Training, the difference we saw in Mazara last year, there was a different urgency, a different look, where he was trying to do his best to play, win a spot on the team. This year in Spring Training, he came in with a ‘let me get ready’ type of attitude. The progression of everything he did was on an uphill trend. If you go back and look at the last week of Spring Training, that’s when you really started to see the barrel show up. He’s staying back on his legs, he was letting his hands play, and he was driving some baseballs. Then we come here, the last two games of Spring Training, he was barrelling baseballs. But that started early in Spring Training where he was really strict on his routine, very professional within his routine, and confident. (…) he understands now that the most important thing he can do is stay disciplined with his daily work, and don’t let any doubt or question creep into his mind about who he is, and his place.”
3. Adrian Beltre’s birthday is today. Hopefully he will get a pain-free afternoon. He wasn’t available for comment today, and even Banister hadn’t talked with him by the time we got into the manager’s office, so we really won’t know anything until tomorrow.
4. Andrew Cashner will pitch on Monday in Frisco. Let’s talk about the significance of the date: With the two days off in the first couple weeks, the rotation is expected to be Darvish tomorrow, and Perez in the final game against the A’s on Sunday. Then Monday is a day off, which kind of hits the reset button again: Cole Hamels, A.J. Griffin, and Darvish would pitch against the Angels, all on full rest. Perez would get the first game against Seattle on Friday the 14th, and then Texas has a decision to make. It sure would be nice to have a starting pitcher available on full rest on Satur-- oh wait. Cashner is pitching Monday, you say? *dramatically counts on fingers* Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, well, look at that! Cashner would be due up on Saturday.
But he’s only supposed to throw 75 pitches in Frisco, so wouldn’t the Rangers like him to get one more rehab start before returning to the rotation?
Now that I’m made it seem obvious that he would return Saturday, I’ll be a bit more honest: everything I’ve heard from Banister and Brocail has indicated that the club wants to proceed with an abundance of caution. That probably means we get a spot start from Nick Martinez or Mike Hauschild while Cashner gets one more rehab start.
Right, Jeff Banister?
“We’ll see how that one (Monday) goes.”
5. Tyson Ross threw three innings in an extended Spring Training game today. 45 pitches. He is expected to pitch again on April 12th, and throw ~4 innings / 60 pitches. If that pattern holds, Ross could be in a Rangers uniform as early as April 28th, opening a home series against the Angels. That’s more than a month ahead of what we thought the schedule was when he signed with the team.
If you were ever an Eisley fan (I was/am), you’ll recognize Sherri DuPree’s voice just about anywhere. If you were ever a Say Anything fan (I was ambivalent), you’ll recognize Max Bemis’ voice just about anywhere. If you were a fan of either, you probably know that they were married, and this music rec probably isn’t news to you, but I’m still throwing it out there for anyone who hasn’t heard it: they made an album together that came out in 2014 under the name “Perma”. The record is “Two of a Crime” and it combines a lot of the best elements of either artist.
(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!