Well, we’re halfway through today’s two-state, two-game, probably-about-seven-hours-long baseball marathon, and what have we learned? A few things:
1. You should eat ahead of time. Or at least have food nearby. Otherwise, you’re going to miss things like a Royce Bolinger leadoff double or an Eduard Pinto pinch-running appearance, which was not only interesting because he stole a base and advanced to third on the throw, but also because he was the 100th player the Rangers have used in big-league games this Spring. I did not miss these things. I am hungry.
2. Joey Gallo has started to turn a corner. True, the Angels pitchers didn’t throw much to that high-and-in hole in Gallo’s swing, but his double in the fourth inning was on a pitch located down-and-in(ish). Hitting anything in is an improvement, what with Gallo’s arms being the size of turbine jet engines. Gallo also had a single, 2-for-3 is a lot better than 0-for-3, especially given Gallo’s slow start this spring.
3. Speaking of slow starts and subsequent surges: Ronald Guzman had no hits in his first 15 at-bats this Spring. With today’s three-run home run in the 7th (a blast which gave the Rangers a 6-4 lead), Guzman now has five hits in his last ten. A lot of things would have to go wrong (or, I suppose extremely right) for Guzman to make his MLB debut in 2017, but good trends are good trends.
4. When your path to the big leagues is predicated on your ability to throw strikes with your low-90s fastball and be deceptive with your breaking pitches, you don’t want the first paragraph about your pitching performance to end with the sentence “He threw 73 pitches; only 40 of them were strikes”.
Sorry, Mike Hauschild.
Perhaps you’re looking for optimism for the Rule 5 draftee, and that does exist: despite a 40/33 strike-to-ball ratio (don’t bother trying to reduce that fraction to the lowest common terms, it’s already there) and 8 hits / 2 walks allowed, it really could have been worse than just 4 runs. Hauschild got a big strikeout to end the first inning, and the final run that scored was on a broken bat infield single after two failed bunt attempts.
If you’re a pitcher, you’ll take the old double-foul-bunt-broken-bat combo 10 times out of 10. It just so happens, this time it resulted in an RBI infield single.
Sorry, that’s all the optimism I’ve got. It wasn’t a great outing for Hauschild.
5. Elvis Andrus took an 0-for-3, but remember back in the last week of February when we were saying “No one got hurt = great day!” after games? Andrus’ delayed start due to sports hernia surgery means it’s still late February for him. He didn’t get hurt, so it was a great day.
6. Jeremy Jeffress pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just a walk. Tanner Scheppers started each inning strong, but struggled with two outs both times, eventually allowing a run in the 8th, though it happened when a non-big-league infield allowed a run to score on a double steal.
7. Guzman’s home run wasn’t the only one from a Rangers first baseman today. After Gallo’s double, James Loney hit a ball over the right field wall to, at the time, pull the Rangers to within a run in the 4th inning. It would stay that way until Guzman’s opposite-field blast.
8. Chi Chi Gonzalez, it came out later in the game, has a partial tear of his UCL. The Rangers are saying they will not pursue Tommy John surgery just yet, but he will receive a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, and will not throw for at least six weeks. With Gonzalez out of the mix, it looks like the fifth-starter competition is down to Hauschild, A.J. Griffin (who will be pitching tonight in San Antonio), Nick Martinez, Dillon Gee, and perhaps Eddie Gamboa, though he seems like a longer shot than the others.
Interestingly, one concern about Gee was that, despite his strong spring, he was not on the 40-man roster, and including him would cost the Rangers the risk of exposing someone to waivers. If Chi Chi is moved to the 60-day DL, that problem would be, at least for the time being, solved.
9. St. Patrick threw all the snakes out of Ireland. To celebrate today, Pat Cantwell threw out Andrew Daniel trying to steal second base.
10. If you start writing your game recap around the time all the starters leave the game, you can make it a numbered list, post it about 10 minutes after final pitch, and go get some food before the next game starts in about 30 minutes.
See you later tonight!