Date: Friday, June 2nd
Rangers’ Record: 26-28 (3rd place, 12 games behind Houston)
Tonight’s Opponent: Houston Astros (38-16)
Tonight’s Starters: Dallas Keuchel (8-0, 1.81) vs. Yu Darvish (5-3, 2.97)
We're in a rain delay.
It was raining so hard on my drive to Globe Life Park today that my windshield wipers could hardly keep up. I just this afternoon finished reading “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, which is a profoundly poignant memoir about his upbringing in the rust belt, and his thoughts on the causes and possible solutions for the plight of the economically disenfranchised. It’s a brilliant read, and I highly recommend it, but between the heavy read and the heavy rain, I came to the ballpark in a preemptively somber state, which suited the day’s events just fine.
When Sam Dyson got Corey Dickerson to pop out to shortstop to end the horrific tenth inning on May 31st, his walk back to the dugout was significantly slower than usual. Perhaps he felt he deserved the boos that were raining down on him. Perhaps he knew the writing was on the wall, and it would be his last time on this mound for the foreseeable future. Or perhaps–after giving up three runs and continuing his spiral into baseball hell–the effort of even walking back to the dugout was greater than usual.
Whatever the case, it was his final act as a Ranger. Dyson is no longer on the Rangers’ 25-man roster, nor their 40-man roster. He has been designated for assignment, and while you never say never in baseball, it is unlikely that he will throw another pitch as a member of the Texas Rangers. A lot of people said a lot of things about Sam Dyson today, but I think the best way to tell the story is through the words of his teammates in the bullpen, including his best friend on the team.
It’s the June 2nd Baseball Texas Daily.
1. Jake Diekman’s locker has been next to Sam Dyson’s since the day the team traded for both of them on the same day in 2015. They’ve been inseparable since, often interrupting each other’s TV interviews with some manner of silliness. Now, Diekman–who Dyson flew from Atlanta to Minneapolis to visit after the first Ulcerative Colitis surgery this offseason–is one week away from his third surgery, and Dyson is no longer a Ranger. Here are Jake’s words today:
“You have to understand that it’s the business, first off. (pause) ...It sucks. But I had people in Philly that I thoroughly enjoyed, and we got traded, and just thrown into a different situation like that. I feel like… I dunno. It’s tough. Because I’m gonna miss the crap out of him being on my right side every day, but baseball’s weird like that. At some point, you’re going to meet back up. I don’t know. It’s weird.
(But) it’s not like a friend that I have died. I’m still going to see him. I’m still going to text him, I’ll still talk to him. It’s not like he’s dead forever. He’s just maybe on a different team. At some point, I bet we play together again, though. Baseball is weird like that.
He’s a baseball player. At some point, you get optioned in life, and it sucks. This is just a little bit worse, but it’s basically the same thing.
(On how difficult it was to watch Dyson struggle this season)
I mean, I kinda went through it before I got traded over here in 2015, i think I gave up 14 runs or something in the first month, so I’ve been there, and it sucks. Because you’ll have one or two amazing outings, and the next four, you’re trying to find it, and mentally you’re just drained from trying to fight through every outing. It’s a really really rough experience. But when I was traded over here, I felt like the change of scenery was super helpful. We were thrown into not knowing anyone, and you want to make a good first impression, so mentally you just wipe the slate clean. But yeah, I know exactly what he’s going through. I’ve been there, man. It’s tough. It’s a really lonely place out there.
I think the biggest thing is he just needs to take a couple days off, I think. Just seriously get away from everything. That’s what I would do.
(On one aspect that makes it even more mentally draining)
(It’s more frustrating) because you feel good. It looked really good, it was just… Okay, one outing in Boston. He intentionally walked three people. When you guys don’t write about that, it pisses us off. Like, okay, seven straight people got on base, but he intentionally walked three people. That’s not on him. He put those people on, but some people don’t write about that. That’s the part that pisses me off. He got a ground ball through the hole, like a duck fart over (motions to indicate a bloop single) and that’s what sucks. All he’ll hear about is seven straight people, and that’s a Rangers record. But stats like that don’t really tell the true story.”
2. Tony Barnette, along with Diekman and Dyson, was one of three relievers to participate in our Game of Thrones video last season. Here are Tony's words:
“This is the part of baseball that is hard. It’s the hardest part of baseball, because players are replaceable, but people aren’t. Sam’s a great guy, and we’re going to miss him. But we have to move on; we have a job to do today, and that’s to win a baseball game. So we’re going to focus there, re-focus our energies on the guys that are here, and try to win baseball games.
We know things need to get better. That’s evident.
(On Dyson struggling despite feeling fine) That’s the definition of slump, right? You’re not performing up to par, and you can’t really figure out why. It’s happened to all of us at one point in our careers, and will happen again at another point in our careers, so… slumps happen, and I think in the bullpen, it gets cast a light on even more so, because if you slump in the bullpen, that means you’re going to end up losing games. If you slump as a hitter, you can hide away a little bit and work on things. But I think it casts a light on a slump when you’re in the bullpen, it just really magnifies things.
3. Jeremy Jeffress has also seen his own struggles this season. After being the closer in Milwaukee, he came to the Rangers as part of the Jonathan Lucroy trade, and had his own struggles when he was arrested and charged with DUI. He missed a month of the pennant race, but returned in time to be part of the strong bullpen at the tail end of the season. He is the Rangers’ most-used reliever this season. Here are Jeremy's words:
“It’s not like he wasn’t trying his hardest. The guy is a phenomenal pitcher, great stuff. The whole bullpen could take something from him, and we did, every single day. It’s just unlucky. (...) the guy had 38 saves last year, and when did he start (the closer’s role), the end of May? And had 38? Like, come on. So it’s just unfortunate that he couldn’t put it together quickly enough. I’m sure if he stays with the organization, he will be back. He’s going to work hard. And if not, I’m pretty sure somebody’s going to see what he’s done, and what he has.
(On losing a teammate)
“He was a huge part of the bullpen, man. He had a lot of knowledge, a lot of wisdom, and he was a great leader. A lot of guys looked up to him. And we tried to help him out as much as we could. Like I said, he worked his butt off every day. He never missed a day in the weight room, he never gave up on anything. He just kept going right at people and kept doing his job. It was kind of shocking, but it just comes with the game, man.
It’s just believing in that other person. The bullpen is a place where you have to believe in the next guy. The bullpen is a place where you gotta trust and believe that the next guy will help you out in a time of need. So we can’t get used to it, but ...it’s just part of the game.
4. Jon Daniels also spoke. Here is video of that.
5. So, the Rangers are starting a series with the Astros. Although it won’t start on time. We’re officially in a rain delay. If they ever do get underway, it’s scheduled to be Yu Darvish vs. Dallas Keuchel. Hopefully we’ll get to see that matchup of aces. If not, we'll see you tomorrow.
Jenny and Tyler are a husband/wife duo from Nashville, TN. I toured with them on my last year on the road as a musician, and I love them, both as artists and as people. The profits from their EP of cover songs, “For Freedom” go to benefit organizations that fight human trafficking.
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