I love a good vacation, man.
But something feels very odd about knowing that no Ranger will represent the American League on the field in Miami. Something feels very right, though, about Yu Darvish traveling to Miami to represent them on the roster, alone.
But don’t blame me. I voted for Elvis.
Angles and Angels
I will not talk about Cole Hamels’ mustache. I will not talk about…
Anyway on Friday the Rangers were treated to a first pitch from Olympic and professional wrestler Kurt Angle, who was out to sell the new WWE pay-per-view named Great Balls of Fire, which is noteworthy because a billion dollar company named a big-time show Great Balls of Fire. There was a real opportunity lost here when the first pitch was not set on fire before being thrown out. Come on guys, Jesse Ventura would have went all out with this back in his day.
What was on fire, and also a ball, was Cole Hamels’ fastball, which is an odd thing to say about a 92 MPH pitch, but it’s true, and it stops me from talking about Hamels’ mustache (which now that I’ve broached the topic I will say was also fire). Hamels pitched to 24 Angels, and notched 24 outs. Four men did reach, but three were eliminated either by fielder’s choice or double play; it was the type of dominance that wasn’t needed, but was welcome.
It wasn’t needed because before the Angels could get their second man on base, starter Ricky Nolasco was showering with eight earned runs on his record. This was the second inning. It feels a little gross and atavistic to go blow-by-blow, but it is worth noting that Adrian Beltre did the knee-home run thing again.
Hamels ceded the ball to Jeffress, who struck out the lone batter he saw to end the eighth. Newly returned Jason Grilli pitched a ninth, clean with two strikeouts, and the final score was 10-0.
I’m still not talking about the mustache, but it did kind of have a cop-look to it, and this was the anniversary of the deadly attack on the Dallas Police Department of 07/07/2016, so maybe it was just a sly tribute from Hamels to our uniformed friends.
Or maybe he read the memo wrong and thought ‘70’s throwback uniform day was Friday, which it was Saturday, and he had to play things cool.
Given the ball in powder blue unis was Tyson Ross, who struggled early with command but would right the ship enough to give the team 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball. I guess it’s noteworthy that Ross, like Hamels, faced 24 batters, but it’s also kind of not.
Like Hamels, Ross was staked to an early lead when Nomar Mazara doubled to bring in leadoff singler Shin-Soo Choo. THat lead would evaporate with an Andrelton SImmons homer to lead off the second, but the bleeding stopped there. Meanwhile, the Rangers offered Jesse Chavez a deeper cut in the third; Adrian Beltre again homered, this one bringing in Elvis Andrus and a 3-1 lead that Rangers would hold.
That lead became 5-1 when Drew Robinson hit his second career homer in his second career start off Blake Parker in the sixth. I’m pretty keen with the stats, and at this point in Saturday's game, if Drew Robinson started in every game for the rest of this season, and then 4.23 more 162 game seasons, he would pass Barry Bonds around May 15, 2022.
Ross handed off to the capable trio of Matt Bush, Jeremy Jeffress, and Alex Claudio to protect the (now) 5-1 lead, and they did so with aplomb. Well, Claudio maybe had slightly less aplomb, as he allowed LA’s second run of the series in his second inning of work, but, let’s cut the guy a little slack.
Then came Sunday. Normally, in a trilogy, your second act is the tragic one, but this weekend’s play in three parts saved the worst for last.
The worst has nothing to do with pitching; Yu Darvish carved the Angels. He did allow four walks over his 7 2/3 innings pitched, but at least one was pretty clearly a ‘just get this guy off the plate, we’ll get Yuni Escobar after him’ non-intentional intentional walk to Albert Pujols (which resulted in Yu snaring a grounder of Escobar’s bat that a shorter pitcher would have missed and throwing Pujols out at second to start the DP, which has to count for something). Pujols is 62 years old and weighs 360 pounds, but he is still Albert Pujols as he proved in the first inning when he hit a two-out solo home run off Darvish.
The thing is on Yu Darvish nights the offense often looks like a potluck dinner in which everyone brought dessert and no one brought any ham or meatballs; after lunch, they’re all just alternatingly jittery and nappy from the sugar, and you’re still hungry. The Rangers put only eight men on base on the day, six via walk (with five of those walks coming from Gallo or Beltre).
Also Drew Robinson started and didn’t homer, which pushes the date for him to hit #763 back to May 16, 2022.
This meant the aforementioned first inning solo homer allowed to aforementioned baseball hippo Pujols represented an insurmountable lead; a fifth inning insurance run on a Rougned Odor mental error only made the insurmountable insurmountablier.
Enjoy Miami, Yu. Just…. Not too much.
This time the preview section matters (not)
Games to be played in anger don’t resume until Friday, but until then we have the All Star festivities to distract us from the fact that time is inexorably denigrating us all, slowly, day by day, atom by atom.
Last night was the home run derby. It was noteworthy because Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were in it, and they’re both very large humans that hit a ball an extreme distance sometimes. It lived up to the hype with Judge winning in a grand display unseen since nearly a decade ago when Josh Hamilton sent Old Yankee Stadium off with a bang.
Also noteworthy; there’s a garish dinger machine in Marlins Park that should appear tonight if any baseball bopper gets ahold of one. Sadly, the dinger machine laid dormant last night like an aging Cuban emigre with a waning libido and a lengthy refractory period.
Not exactly noteworthy; Joey Gallo declined to be part of the proceedings. This is probably pretty smart, as he can do with the rest for his hamstring and also the last time a prodigious young Rangers left-handed hitter went to the Home Run Derby it all ended in tears.
Tonight the All Star Game will be played. Thanks to Russian and or Kansas City-ian interference in the All Star runoff, we’ll be gifted to the presence of Mike Moustakas in it rather than Elvis Andrus, which is probably all in all OK with the new father and lends the aforementioned symbolism to the Lone Ranger, Yu.
He almost certainly won’t pitch, but he still has Chekov’s Left Hand, that I’m convinced is going to throw a live MLB pitch at some point. Probably not Tuesday.
Until then enjoy the quiet lack of baseball, or mourn it, I’m not in charge of you.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Share your drink level outlook with Joe on Twitter @thejoeursery.