Date: Saturday, September 2nd, 2017
Opponent: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (69-66)
Starters: Ricky Nolasco (6-12, 5.09) vs. A.J. Griffin (6-5, 5.26)
Wild Card Situation: 3.0 games behind Twins
Still Need to Pass: Orioles, Angels. Tied with Rays.
Welcome back to another edition of the Baseball Texas Daily, a thing I write every day, all in one place, so you don't have to click on a million different stories with a million different pop up ads. You don't even have to click through and give us those sweet, sweet engagement clicks to get from one item to the next. Just scroll at your own pace and read about all the super-important stuff happening in Rangers world.
It's the September 2nd Baseball Texas Daily!
1. The Rangers won last night in a 10-9 marathon that lasted 4:33 and featured nine Anaheim pitchers (and six Ranger pitchers). Here’s a fun fact: Mike Scioscia didn’t make his first pitching change until the third inning. Since the Rangers won at home, there was no bottom of the ninth, so in innings 3-8 (six innings total), Scioscia made FIVE mid-inning pitching changes. That’s not counting the guys that entered the game at the beginning of an inning. That’s five mid-inning trips to the mound, calls to the bullpen, and subsequent warm-ups. Five. In six innings. (Plus all the other mound visits that didn’t result in a pitching change). That’s how you break franchise records for longest non-rain-delayed nine-inning games.
Mike Scioscia is trying to single-handedly eliminate the 40-man roster expansion from baseball. Sorry, generations of rookies, sorry future Guilder Rodriguez-esque feel-good stories, sorry everyone who loves seeing lifelong dreams come true. Mike couldn’t play nice, so now it’s ruined for everyone. Real great job, Mike.
2. Tonight, we have A.J. Griffin going up against Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco isn’t having a stellar year, but he stymied the Rangers on August 22nd. That was the 10-1 loss that was not only the Rangers’ only loss in the four-game series in Anaheim, but also the game that cost Ross his spot in the rotation. Griffin last pitched in Oakland, and didn’t fare well, lasting just 3⅓ innings in the final game of that three-game sweep at the hands of the A’s.
But he has an opportunity tonight to help pull the Rangers back to within a half-game of the Angels.
“I mean, you don’t NOT want to be pitching in a (playoff) race, that’s the goal, you know? Obviously, we’d like to be higher in the standings in the pennant race, but we’ll just keep on working hard, executing and just playing good team baseball. Good things happen when everyone is pulling on the same side of the rope.”
“Its a big blow, obviously, but at the same time, you have 25 guys on the team, and we’ve got a lot of good talented guys. Joey (Gallo) played his butt off at third base earlier in the year, we just brought (Will) Middlebrooks up. We have a talented group, and obviously it’s tough when you lose a guy that’s a .300 hitter this year, and just grinds out at-bats, gives you that guy in the middle of the lineup, (but) we also just have the belief in our other fellow teammates that we can get it done. It’s just one of those times that you have to overcome adversity and just get it done.”
“Someone’s gotta win the game, it might as well be us.”
3.Griffin will be facing a revamped Angels lineup, since last-minute trades brought Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips over from Detroit and Atlanta, respectively. But Griffin says that doesn’t impact his preparation much. “I faced Upton a couple of weeks ago, against the Tigers, and it’s been awhile since I’ve faced the Angels now this year. You know, just like (…) an interleague game, you don’t see a lot of those guys throughout the seasons… It’s baseball, you get the scouting reports. You see what their weaknesses are, what your strengths are, and pitch accordingly. They still gotta put the ball in play, gotta get good wood on it. It’s my job to keep them off-balance and try to execute weak contact."
4. Delino DeShields has another opportunity, not that he has wasted the others. With Adrian Beltre out, perhaps for the rest of the season, shifting Joey Gallo to third base full-time, DeShields appears to be the left fielder for the foreseeable future. Last night, he made the most of it, going 2-for-3 with a triple, plus a couple of walks, and scoring three runs. In the first inning, DeShields the stole second, then later–with Choo on first via walk–executed the front half of a double steal, scoring on an Andrus groundout.
But none of that would have been possible had DeShields not beaten out a fairly routine ground ball to Phillips at second base.
“The only real thing that you can do for your team,” Jeff Banister said today “is once you make contact-- your gift to your team is running hard down the line.”
5. Miguel Gonzalez has arrived! We still don’t have a firm date on when we can expect to see him make his debut, however. “He just got off the plane,” Banister explained. “I told him to go out (and throw) before we finalize anything in the process, just to make sure we’re okay. He doesn’t typically throw the day after his start. He just got here, so we’re gonna let him go knock the dust off.”
Gonzalez, for his part, seems excited to be here. Here’s video:
6. Bullpen Notes!
Tyson Ross’ role is likely to be in long relief, though Banister did not rule out the idea of seeing how Ross might respond in a late-innings role. The manager did say that he would like to allow Ross the opportunity to come out of the bullpen in less of a high-leverage role the first time, just to allow him a chance to ease into the role of reliever.
Jason Grilli is okay after last night’s play that landed him on his backside and banged the back of his head on the turf. “I have a very hard head,” Grilli smiled. “The hair helps.”
Ricky Rodriguez had his first bad MLB outing last night. I asked Banister what he saw in last night’s outing that was different from his previous appearances, and the answer was pretty simple: “Didn’t throw strikes.” Then after a beat, “He got behind, and guys were able to lock in on the fastball.”
Dario Alvarez was DFAd as part of the flurry of yesterday’s roster moves, leaving the Rangers with just two left-handed relievers. Banister admitted that a lack of consistency was probably Dario’s undoing, but suggested that the team might add some more left-handed pitchers from the minor leagues, suggesting that Jimmy Reyes and Yohander Mendez were both possibilities.
Let’s hop in the not-that-far-back machine and revisit Eisley’s first full-length record, 2005’s “Room Noises”. Eisley released a new record in February, their first in four years. It didn’t immediately click with me, but I was reminded of just how much I loved this first record. I first discovered Eisley in 2003, just before their first tour, which just so happened to be as an opening act for Coldplay. I still have some old demos on a hard drive somewhere, but Room Noises is the first full-length, and maybe still my favorite record of theirs.
(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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