Date: Friday, June 30th, 2017
Rangers’ Record: 39-40 (3rd, 14.5 games behind Houston)
Wild Card Position: (2.0 games behind MIN; also trailing TBR, LAA, and BAL)
Tonight’s Opponent: Chicago White Sox (34-44)
Tonight’s Starters: Austin Bibens-Dirkx (3-0, 3.68) vs. Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 3.73)
It’s the final day of June. Six months of 2017 have passed, and six remain yet to transpire. But–thanks to more 31-day months in the second half–we’re still technically not quite halfway finished with 2017. Since 365 is an odd number, there is a “middle day” where 182 days have passed and 182 days are yet to come. That middle day is on Sunday, and–coincidentally–when the Rangers wake up on Sunday morning, they will have played 81 games: exactly half of their regular season.
In short, it’s too late to drastically change the fortunes of the first half. Years and seasons both are ships too large to be turned on a dime. But the ship’s wheel is still there for the taking. It’s possible to get a head start on making the second half better than the first.
It’s the June 30th Baseball Texas Daily!
1. Texas dropped a 5-1 game to Cleveland yesterday, and in doing so, dropped the series by a 3-1 tally. Andrew Cashner was hit by a flying bat, and not the kind we associate with vampires (unless you weirdly associate Edwin Encarnacion with vampires, in which case... that's on you?)
2. Last season, Derek Holland’s locker was next to Hamels’. This year, the lefties will be facing each other on Saturday afternoon. But first, it’s Austin-Bibens Dirkx vs. Mike Pelfrey as Texas begins a three-game series against the White Sox tonight. This is the lone night game of the series; both Saturday and Sunday are 1:10pm starts. After these three games, the Rangers return to Texas to take on the Red Sox and Angels for three games each.
3. Tony Barnette completed his rehab assignment with two innings last night in Nashville. He looked ready to return, retiring all six batters he faced, striking out two in the first inning. He’s likely to get a day or two to recover, and should come off the disabled list tomorrow or Sunday.
4. Nomar Mazara is beating the Sophomore slump, says Samuel Hale.
5. Connor Sadzeck pitched in relief again last night in Frisco. The big right-hander retired the side in order. It seems likely that he is going to be the next man up as far as the “bullpen innings at the big-league level” opportunity goes, so keep an eye out tonight to see if he pitches in back-to-back outings. Once he does that, the call-up is likely nigh.
6. Carlos Gomez is back in the lineup, but is currently in the middle of quite a dubious streak: he has struck out in ten consecutive at-bats (though he did work one walk in there; a walk counts as a plate appearance, but not an at-bat) dating back to the last game of the Yankees series, in which he grounded out to first base in his first at-bat. His last hit was a fourth-inning home run on June 24th.
7. I missed an opportunity to link to Tepper's "The Bullpen" in the last Daily, so here it is.
8. Jonathan Hernandez was be the lone Rangers farmhand selected to play in this year’s futures game over All-Star Weekend. Hernandez is currently a member of the Down East Wood Ducks, sporting a 1-2 record with 21 strikeouts and just 6 walks in 21 innings with the Wood Ducks, but also went 2-5 with 46 strikeouts in 46⅓ innings with Hickory this season before being promoted.
We’re working through Sarah Jaffe’s discography this week in the Daily. We’ve previously covered “Suburban Nature” and “Even Born Again”. Today, it’s 2012’s “The Body Wins”, and from track one, there is a vast departure from the earlier records. Gone is the “guitar in a small room” sound, as track one begins with a lush string and horn section, giving way to the title track, swimming in syncopation and quirkiness. By track three, we’re fully into something resembling electronica. It’s a great record, and Jaffe’s songwriting and vocal strength are versatile enough to make the transition from lo-fi to major production.
(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.
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