DALLAS - You know that saying ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’?
It’s a bad saying. It doesn’t make anyone feel better, ever. The best case is someone feels a little better, then circles back around to a lower level of feeling bad because they’re trying to focus on some positive in a bad situation and that sometimes hits the selfish nerve, which just multiplies the bad feelings. Let’s put ‘silver linings’ in a box with the wave, put it in the storage unit, and forget about the both of them.
The point is, every bit of silver from this weekend has a bit of a dark cloud, kind of the opposite of silver linings in clouds. Sort of a genie granting wishes but the only wish it grants is a money's paw that grants wishes situation maybe?
This is the weekend wrapup.
The series started off with two dominant pitching performances, Yu Darvish against Masahiro Tanaka. I’m trying to think of a reason those two guys would want to elevate their games against each other...maybe it has something to do with Darvish’s impending free agency, and Tanaka’s potential opt-out clause enabling them to compete in the open market?
Anyway, Darvish went seven shutout innings, facing only one over the minimum, striking out ten. He did this is with an economical 88 pitches; that’s what brought the immediate questions out when he didn’t come out for the eighth. Shortly after, the answer was that his triceps tightened up and our the stomach knots worse, but no worse news has been issued, so, let’s hope this all ends up OK.
Tanaka matched Darvish for seven innings, and added in a quiet eighth inning to match that of Tanner Scheppers to bring the game to Aroldis Chapman. Chapman, in the midst of sweating like he was in a garage, allowed a one-out single to Elvis Andrus. Chapman then plunked Mazara to move Andrus to second, and with Beltre batting, Andrus stole third - while an odd tactical choice, it ended up being brilliant, as he scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch.
The Rangers handed the game to Matt Bush with a tenuous 1-0 lead, and… well, here’s that dark cloud. A one out Brett Gardner solo shot tied the game; while no further damage was done that inning, we went to extras tied at one.
The Rangers loaded the bases in the top of the tenth, but that Andrus run manufacturing magic didn’t show its face a second time, and Bush came back out for the tenth (yeah. I know.). A ground out, two singles, and a strikeout brought Ronald Torreyes up, and his single - the third of the inning and fifth hit allowed by Bush - ended the game with a 2-1 loss.
Saturday brought 32 year old rookie, national treasure, and entry-level wizard Austin Bibens-Dirkx up against Luis Cessa. Andrus brought Delino DeShields home in the top of the first to give Dirkx a lead; he would protect that 1-0 lead until the fourth, when Carlos Gomez hit a two run homer to make the score to 3-0 and give Bibens-Dirks some breathing room.
Bibens-Dirkx would protect that lead until the sixth, when the Yankee’s version of Joey Gallo (but right handed and with better contact skills but older and not a third baseman with a plus plus arm so he’s not really a good Joey Gallo comp at all but man do they both hit some dingers), Aaron Judge hit a solo shot for the first and only run the Yankees would score against ABD on the day. His final line was 7 innings pitched, 5 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, and a million smiles.
Mix in a few additional clean innings from Alex Claudio and Keone Kela, a solo shot from Robinson Chirinos, and a four-run outburst against Yankee reliever Tyler Clippard in the eighth and you have a ship-righting 8-1 win.
In Sunday’s finale, the Rangers gifted their other surprising but nonetheless Plan D starter (Nick Martinez this time) with a lead before he threw his first pitch; this time, instead of a single run, it was three. Andrus again drove in DeShields to start the party; Adrian Beltre then followed with a homer to bring Andrus in.
One inning later, they repeated the trick; this time with a three run shot from Choo. The pizza run was noteworthy, coming on Drew Robinson’s first MLB hit; a solo homer in the fourth.
Just when it looked like the Rangers would cruise to an easy win, Martinez ran into trouble in the fifth as four runs came in off the bats of Judge and Gary Sanchez.
With the score now at 7-4 and Martinez done for the day; Jose Leclerc took over in the seventh. A leadoff homer and two two-out walks would end his day and brought in Alex Claudio. Claudio did what Claudio does, which is induce weak contact, but the Didi Gregorius grounder made it through the infield to Choo in right field. However, Choo was able to throw out Sanchez at third on the play to end the threat with Texas still up by a run. Kela pitched the eighth, working around a leadoff ground rule double to keep the lead.
On came Matt Bush. Gulp, right? Dark clouds, yeah? Well instead of repeating things, Bush did alright, allowing only a single to Judge, striking out Gary Sanchez swinging to end the game, 7-6. The dark cloud on Sunday instead was the fact that Joey Gallo traveled back to Arlington to get a sore hamstring checked out. Keep tuned to WFAA for updates.
Bold line about Cleveland
The Rangers head to Cleveland for a four-game set. Cleveland is 39-35, good for percentage points behind the AL Central division leading Minnesota Twins. They’re also coming off a three game sweep in Minnesota, in which they were the sweepee rather than the sweeper, which, woof.
Cole Hamels will return for the series opener against Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco is 8-3 on the season, with a 2.99 ERA, 9.17 K K/9 and a 2.27 BB/9. Hamels threw 81 pitches in Frisco in his last rehab start; expecting six+ from him might be a bit optimistic. As well, it will be interesting to watch the roster for who he displaces (please don’t be Gallo to the DL, please).
On Tuesday Tyson Ross will make his third start of the season opposite Mike Clevinger. Clevinger is 3-3, a three outcome favorite with lots of strikeouts (9.86/9), walks (4.71) and homers 1.129.
Yu Darvish is scheduled to start Wednesday’s game versus drone enthusiast Trevor Bauer. We’ll keep a bit of a pin in this, as we haven’t heard any bad news about Darvish’s triceps since Saturday’s early exit, but… let’s go with fear is an excellent motivator, how about that.
In Thursday’s finale, Corey Kluber will oppose To Be Announced, who if you extrapolate the schedule appears to be Austin Bibens-Dirkx. Kluber’s been excellent but a bit unlucky this season, as his 3.24 ERA is buoyed up a bit (his FIP/xFIP is 2.65/2.81, respectively). However, out-dueling an ace has become ABD’s speciality.
Be as bold as Joe by following him on Twitter @thejoeursery.
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