Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Rangers’ Record: 38-38 (T-3rd, 13.5 games behind Houston)
Wild Card Position: (2.0 games behind Cleveland, TB, LAA, SEA ahead)
Tonight’s Opponent: Cleveland Indians (40-35)
Tonight’s Starters: Tyson Ross (1-1, 9.35) vs. Mike Clevinger (3-3, 3.86)
If you can’t enjoy the game, I hope you can still enjoy the gamer. Texas lost 15-9 last night in a contest that felt more like a long and inevitable slide off the side of a mossy mountain than a baseball game. Cole Hamels was not great, and the relief combination of Dario Alvarez, Tanner Scheppers, Alex Claudio, and Preston Claiborne combined to be even less great.
That was yesterday, and today, we have the continued and curious return of Tyson Ross to contend with. Ross was impressive in his first start, and decidedly less so in his second. The Rangers are (still? again?) at .500. Cue the theme music: It’s the June 27th Baseball Texas Daily!
I’m being told there is no theme music. That’s on me. I thought we had it ready to go. Sorry.
1. Carlos Gomez is getting a day off in Cleveland. Gomez also came out of the game in the late innings last night. My intial thought was fatigue, from the exhaustion of chasing all the balls hit to the warning track last night, but no: he has some back stiffness. He beieves he could have played today, he told the beats in Cleveland, but that the team is being cautious. We’ll keep an eye on the situation as it transpires, but Delino DeShields gets the start in center field today. Speaking of DeShields...
2. Statcast released their “sprint speed” data today. This link (and everything I’ll write about here) is just for 2017, though there's a drop-down menu to see the data from 2016 and 2015 as well.
DeShields is listed as a left fielder, and as such, he is far and away the fastest at his position, covering 29.3 feet per second. The next-closest left-fielder is Allen Cordoba of the Padres at 28.9 (the slowest left fielder is Matt Kemp at 25.7 ft/s). If DeShields were listed as a centerfielder, he would slot in at sixth, behind Hamilton (30.1), Byron Buxton (29.9), Bradley Zimmer (29.8) Frenchy Cordero (29.6), and Keon Broxton (29.4).
Incidentally, those are the only five ahead of DeShields in all of baseball, though he is tied with 2B Dee Gordon of the Marlins.
On the other end of the spectrum, the slowest runner in all of baseball? That honor goes to:
3. Albert Pujols, who covers a mere 23.3 ft/s, though if he were in a footrace with Brian McCann, it might look like a dead heat to the naked eye: McCann covers a pedestrian 23.4 ft/s. (League average, by the way, is 27 ft/s. Adrian Beltre, who has battled calf, ankle, and foot injuries this season, is the slowest third baseman in the league at 24.7 (though he was closer to the middle of the 3B pack last year at 26.1. But even hobbled, he is still outpacing Justin Moak, Victor Martinez, Pujols, four catchers, and tied with Kendrys Morales.
Also at 26.1 this season? Robinson Cano and Carlos Beltran. Interestingly, Josh Donaldson is listed at 26.0.
(I’m being petty: Donaldson has also had a knee injury, and was at 27.1 last season.)
4. You can check out the Rangers’ sprint speeds here. Of the 12 Rangers with enough data to qualify, six (DeShields, Gomez, Jared Hoying, Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus, and Joey Gallo) are listed at above league average, one (Ryan Rua) exactly at average, and five (Nomar Mazara, Shin-Soo Choo, Jonathan Lucroy, Mike Napoli, and Beltre) are below. The biggest surprise? Mazara is listed as 26.9 and Ryan Rua at 27.0, nearly identical. I would have guessed that Rua was significantly faster than Mazara.
Also, I wish pitchers were listed, just for fun.
5. Robinson Chirinos is not listed, because home run trots are not counted.
6. We now know the upcoming rotation, er, at least through Thursday. That will be Andrew Cashner’s return from the CL. That leaves Austin Bibens-Dirkx waiting to hear which of them will start on Friday. The obvious choice, and not just sentimentally, is Bibens-Dirkx, but with the Rangers having used their bullpen heavily of late, he may be summoned for relief duty. And on the topic of relief...
7. Tony Barnette is beginning his rehab assignment tonight in Nashville. He is on the 10-day DL after smashing a fingernail in a car door (the second-most impressive door-smash injury to the pitching staff this season, thanks to Martin Perez fracturing the tip of his right thumb in a hotel door.)
The plan is for Barnette to pitch tonight and Thursday, rejoining the team afterwards if all goes well.
8. Connor Sadzeck has been pitching out of the bullpen in Frisco. Sadzeck last pitched on Saturday night against Corpus Christi, pitching one inning, and allowing a run on two hits and a walk. He struck out one. We will be on back-to-back days watch, starting on Friday (the AA All-Star game is in Frisco tonight, and the team doesn’t resume its usual schedule until Thursday.
I’m going to try something new with the music rec over the next week or so. I’ve always enjoyed everything I’ve heard from Sarah Jaffe, but I’ve never stopped and really listened to her records. So starting today, I’m going to listen through her discography (full albums only; there are five) and we can discover the breadth of her career together.
Day one: Suburban Nature (2010). I always enjoy listening to artist’s first official record. They’re not quite yet who they will become, for better or worse, and they’ve had a lifetime-until-then to write the record. Suburban Nature is low-fi in places, but sounds intentionally so, and introduces us to Jaffe’s vulnerable (no pun intended, song #5) but not fragile voice. It sounds like the whole album could be powerfully performed in a living room, though it doesn’t feel confined to tiny rooms.
(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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