Date: Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
Rangers’ Record: 45-47 (3rd, 16.5 games behind Houston)
Wild Card Position: (6th, 2.5 behind NYY. Also trailing MIN, SEA, KC)
Tonight’s Opponent: Baltimore Orioles (43-49)
Tonight’s Starters: Tyson Ross (2-1, 5.33) vs. Dylan Bundy (8-8, 4.33)
So the Rangers, whose offense had been struggling since just before the All-Star break, went to Baltimore, whose starting pitching hadn’t lasted into the sixth inning since sometime around 1992. It was the movable object against the stoppable force. You can assign whichever one you want to whatever side, but the Rangers offense got just three hits (two of them by Adrian Beltre) and the Rangers lost for the second time in a row since clawing back to .500.
We’re officially under two weeks until the trade deadline, which is my least favorite time of the year, because it’s late enough that we *should* be talking about trade rumors. But since we are not GMs, that means nearly two more weeks of pretending we are. Oh, and there’s a huge heat wave. We won’t have a high temperature below 95° again until July 29th. ALSO, inexplicably, they STILL haven’t brought back the TV show Terriers.
Anyway, there’s a lot to cover today, so let’s get to it: it’s the July 18th Baseball Texas Daily!
1. Yu Darvish is obviously the big bait. Or the big fish, depending on your perspective. Chris Roland wrote about what the Rangers might do with Darvish.
2. Shin-Soo Choo’s contract pretty much makes him untradeable. Right? Ehhh maybe not, suggests Samuel Hale.
3. Of course, maybe Texas doesn’t sell. Maybe they make a run at the Wild Card. Matt Fisher takes that angle.
4. Hang on, I don't want to bury this: I made a Dotumentary that I want you to see. It's called "No Wagering, Please!" and it features cameos by, like, everyone. Including a couple of Hall of Famers. Okay, back to baseball stuff...
5. Chris Carter, huh? The rumors continue that perhaps Texas is interested in picking up the free-agent first baseman. Personally, I’m not sure how this makes sense: Carter is a high-power, high-strikeout right-handed first baseman, and Texas already has a better one of those: Mike Napoli. But perhaps the Rangers have a trade in mind for Napoli, and would like to have a replacement on-hand. In that case, I present: Ryan Rua, who doesn’t quite have Carter/Napoli power, but also doesn’t strike out as much, is younger, and can play more positions.
6. Jake Diekman threw off a mound for the first time since the last of his colon surgeries to combat Ulcerative Colitis. Still no word on a timetable for his return, though the bullpen could get a boost very soon with the return of…
7. Keone Kela, who could come off the disabled list as early as tomorrow (or could require a rehab assignment first). The question is: who hits the bricks when Kela returns? There’s not an obvious bullpen arm, unless you count Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who is technically in the rotataion until the Rangers can find a way to go five games in a row without any starters being injured, at which point, he becomes the long man. With no other long man options, the Rangers will likely instead divest themselves of a bench player. It won’t be Chirinos or DeShields, and unless Gallo’s hamstring/knee issues are worse than we think, it’s probably down to either...
8. Drew Robinson or Pete Kozma. Robinson, obviously, has been the more effective hitter. Kozma is hitting .114 as a Ranger, buuuuuut he can play shortstop, and it’s still not clear if Robinson is capable of that. It’s ironic that backup shortstop is the sticking point here, as Rougned Odor, Robinson Chirinos, and Matt Bush have all played there at some point in their careers, but Robinson has not, at least not in his minor league years, though he did get some time there during Spring Training. Jeff Wilson of the FWST reports that the Rangers are working Robinson out at shortstop in pregame drills, and Banister is no stranger to putting someone in a new position for the first time ever (see: Profar, Jurickson - first base and Napoli, Mike - left field).
9. Cole Ragans is exciting.
10. A.J. Griffin has a rehab start tomorrow for Round Rock. He’s scheduled to go about four innings or 60 pitches, which means he is still 3-4 starts away from being ready to return to the big-league club.
11. Elvis Andrus is the Rangers 2017 Heart and Hustle award winner. This from the team's official press release:
This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players.
“For the last three seasons, Elvis has been the consistent example for all Rangers on how to play with grit, passion heart and hustle,” said Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister.
The MLBPAA formed 30 committees, comprised of Alumni players with established relationships to each team. One player from each Major League team is chosen by the committees based on their passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field. These players will be recognized prior to an upcoming home game. As the season draws to a close, fans, all alumni and active players will vote to select the final winner from the 30 team winners. The previous overall winners are David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012), Dustin Pedroia (2013), Josh Harrison (2014), Anthony Rizzo (2015) and Todd Frazier (2016).
The final winner will be announced on November 14, 2017 at the 18th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. This event is the primary fundraiser for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. These clinics impact more than 16,000 children each year at 185 clinics, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact on the game of baseball.
Haim has a new album out! This is good music for listening to in your car as you drive around. I would normally say with the windows down, but we already discussed the upcoming weather forecast, so keep them up and turn up your A/C. This is Texas, after all.
(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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