Date: Monday, September 11th, 2017
Opponent: Seattle Mariners (71-72)
Starters: Ariel Miranda (8-6, 4.72) vs. Cole Hamels (9-3, 4.03)
Wild Card Situation: 2.5 games behind Twins
Still Behind: Angels
Tied With: Royals
It’s not as if the impending end of the season is a surprise. After all, it’s September. The weather has already begun to turn down the heat from Summer to “simmer”. And yet, it might come as a small shock when you realize that we are to the portion of the schedule where the Rangers have finished playing any teams from outside the AL West. There are a mere twenty games left in the regular season, and they will go in this order: Seattle (4), at Los Angeles (3), at Seattle (3), at Oakland (3), Houston (3) and Oakland (4). This season's fate may not be decided in this four-game series against the Mariners (though a sweep, or even a 3-1 series in either direction might do the trick), but it will be decided soon, one way or the other.
It’s September 11th, and this is the first year that this date snuck up on me. The flags here at the park are at half-mast, and there’s a large American flag set to be unfurled over Greene’s Hill, likely during the national anthem tonight. I’ll forego the personal 9/11 story and instead direct you to what may be the best piece of journalism I’ve ever read: Tom Junod’s masterpiece on the iconic photo of the Falling Man. In fact, if you’ve read this far, my employers have already gotten their ad revenue. It’s a slow news day here, go read that instead. It’s infinitely more relevant and arresting writing than anything else you’ll see below.
For the stubborn among you, or for those who need the distraction: it’s the September 11th Baseball Texas Daily.
1. Rougned Odor is back in the lineup today, a day after being removed with an ankle sprain when his left foot was caught under the feet of a sliding Nomar Mazara as both men pursued a blooper that would ultimately go in the scorebook as a double.
“Yes, I was,” Odor replied when asked if he was scared yesterday. “After what happened with (Carlos) Gomez, that scared me.” (Gomez had sprained his ankle leaving the batter’s box a day earlier.) But after x-rays returned negative, Odor said he iced it at the ballpark, then again before he went to bed last night. When he arrived at the park today, he pronounced himself fit to play. “I can run a little bit. It’s not really bad. If it’s just pain, I can deal with it.”
2. Nomar Mazara, too, is in the lineup, despite his quad continuing to be less than 100%. “It’s September,” Jeff Banister answered. “Everybody’s feeling it. I don’t think there’s a player out there on any team that’s not feeling it.”
Mazara told us that the quad, despite feeling pretty good before the game, had gotten progressively tighter as the 16-7 loss to the Yankees progressed. Eventually he–along with most of the starters–took a seat while the backups played out the rest of the game.
He’s at DH today, something he has done occasionally. “I did, beginning of the year” he reminded us. “When my hamstrings were a little tight. (But) I’m young,” he smiled. “You’re not gonna see me DHing a lot.”
3. Mike Napoli, on the other hand, is not young, at least not by baseball standards. The 35-year-old first baseman is out of lineup today because he is also “a little banged up,” according to Jeff Banister. Just a note: I had to look up how old Mike Napoli was, because... well, because why would I ever put forth the effort to commit to memory the age of another grown man when I could just look it up at any time?
If the internet is ever so broken that I can’t look this information up, I doubt that “MIKE NAPOLI AGE” is going to be the Google search that I most regret not having memorized or printed out instead of, say, “HOW TO FASHION WEAPON FROM COFFEE CUP” or “MAKE FIRE, LIGHTERS BROKEN”.
All that to say, in spite of myself, I will probably never forget that Mike Napoli’s birthday is on Halloween, and I don't know why. I have actively tried to forget this bit of knowledge and yet it hangs on like some manner of spiteful trivia. I will never need to know this. But I always will.
Anyway, I wrote that whole paragraph to lead up to that little factoid. Now don’t you wish that you had read Tom Junod’s article instead?
Ahh right, there is one more thing. Kind of.
4. Tyson Ross will not be the starting pitcher on Friday the 15th, when the Rangers next need a fifth starter. Jeff Banister declined to tell us who it would be, but did say that the three candidates right now are A.J. Griffin, Nick Martinez, and Austin Bibens-Dirkx.
That’s it from the Rangers clubhouse today. See you with a game story later tonight.
Kevin Devine’s “Instigator” is one of my two or three favorite albums that I have discovered in the last year. “No History” is about his September 11th experience, living in New York City, so it was the first thing I thought to play once i finally put my headphones on today. I’ll probably be caught in a loop on this album for another few days, though I did see Manchester Orchestra at House of Blues last night, and their newest (“Black Mile to the Surface”, which you know if you’ve been reading this space regularly) still hasn’t been out of rotation for more than a couple days since it came out.
(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 email@example.com or a tweet here.
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