You might argue that Chi Chi Gonzalez’ strong start against the Brewers in Maryvale–while better than a bad start–shouldn’t inspire too much hope, since Milwaukee’s Spring Training lineup wasn’t necessarily representative of a regular season Major League game. I would counter by pointing out that you may be able to say the same thing about a lot of Milwaukee Brewers lineups in recent memory.
Chi Chi continued his strong start to the Spring on Saturday, nearly making it through the third inning unscathed before Jonathan Villar tripled to the right field wall to score Keon Broxton. Gonzalez’ final line: Three each in the innings, hits, and strikeout columns, and just the one earned run allowed.
Also encouraging: Adrian Beltre, despite throwing us off the scent yesterday by telling us he was going to take a day off today, again snuck onto the lineup card. This time he was the DH, and in both at-bats, he worked eight-pitch walks. But Beltre told us after the game that he envied the line score of another Ranger today: “Today, he was 0-for-2,” Beltre said of Joey Gallo. “But... two great at bats. I wish instead of 0-for-0, I could have gone 0-for-2 the way he did: hitting the ball hard, connecting with the fastball and the breaking ball, so he looks like he’s improving. That kid just has so much talent. We know that one way or another, he’s going to figure it out and be one of the best hitters on the club.”
Gallo ended up 0-for-3 (we talked to Beltre as soon as he left the game in the 4th inning), but Beltre was right: while the first week of the Cactus League schedule saw a lot of swing-and-miss from Gallo, the last few games have seen more contact. Hard contact. After his home run Friday, Gallo scorched two balls into the shift today before flying out to left field in his final plate appearance.
“Some of the work we’ve seen from Joey is starting to prove itself,” Jeff Banister said after the game. “Some barrel showing up today. Hopefully it’s not frustrating for him, because that’s what we’ve got to do: find the barrel for him. The swings in the at-bats were good today.”
Other notes from today’s game:
- The most interesting play of the day: After Adrian Beltre walked in the first inning, Nomar Mazara grounded a ball to first base. Beltre thought that Eric Thames had stepped on the bag and was throwing to second for the tag play. But Thames had not stepped on the bag, so the throw to second was good for a force out. But in all the uncertainty, Beltre and Mazara were both heading for first base, hoping to be safe. Eric Sogard threw to first in time to get Mazara to complete the double play, but Beltre’s slide back into the base knocked Thames’ foot off the bag. Mazara should, by all rights, have been called out, but with Thames’ foot off the base, Doug Eddings called him safe.
It was all for naught: Gallo followed with a hard lineout.
- Jeremy Jeffress pitched a 1-2-3 inning. I hate to get too prematurely geeked out about the Rangers bullpen after they made me (and others) look foolish out of the gate last season, but I will say this: even with Jake Diekman out for the first half of the season, Dyson / Bush / Barnette / Kela / Jeffress is a pretty nasty (if a bit too right-handed) back five. Add Scheppers, Claudio, and one more lefty, and that’s… that’s not bad.
- The Rangers’ lone run scored in the 5th inning when Delino DeShields smashed a hard grounder to third that banged off Ivan DeJesus’ glove and was scored an infield single. After he stole second, Ryan Rua singled to shallow left-center. DeShields, who sprints with the urgency of a frightened hare, beat the throw home easily, and Rua, who runs the bases like the fox responsible for the hare’s fear, took second on the throw.
That's really it. The rest of the game was played mostly by guys who are getting good experience before heading to Round Rock or Frisco.
OTHER BASEBALL STUFF
1. Andrew Cashner updates have been few and far between, but we learned today that he played catch out to 120 feet on Friday and would play again today. “So far so good,” said Assistant GM Mike Daly. “Meister felt good with what he saw in the evaluation and Cash felt good, so we were able to get him out there for five or six minutes.”
Daly added that Cashner did not have an MRI nor did he receive any injections
2. Simulated Game lines from today, as provided by the Rangers PR team:
1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 SO, 17 pitches/12 strikes
Caught by Brett Nicholas
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 SO, 14 pitches/9 strikes
Caught by Brett Hayes
3. Statcast has some new interesting toys. You can read about those here.
4. Drew Robinson has opened some eyes this Spring. We’ll be talking to Drew in an upcoming Welcome Wagon, but for now, David Sessions has the article up here at MLB.com about Drew’s early Cactus League success.
5. Tomorrow’s scheduled pitchers: Nick Martinez, Adam Loewen, Wesley Wright, Brady Dragmire, Anthony Bass, and Dario Alvarez
It’s not often you’ll see me recommend an album that I haven’t heard all the way through, but that’s what’s happening today. “Dopamine” by Børns starts with a song called “10,000 Emerald Pools” that is so good I still haven’t gotten past song #1 on the album. So I bear no responsibility for what follows, but the first song is immaculate. EDIT: Ohhhhhhhh THIS is the band that sings "Electric Light". Yeah, they're great.
(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!
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