Date: Friday, August 11th, 2017
Opponent: Houston Astros (71-43)
Starters: Charlie Morton (9-4, 3.78) vs. Cole Hamels (6-1, 3.59)
The team returns from a six-game road trip, and should be well-rested, given the odd two-off-day week they’ve had. Time to buckle in, though: the next off-day doesn’t happen until August 28th. They’re home to face the Astros and Tigers for three games each and the White Sox for four. Joey Gallo is hitting the cover off of baseballs, we have some new players to watch, and uhhhhh the Astros are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and 4-10 in their last 14. I don’t think the Rangers will catch them (they still trail by 16.5 games in the division), but maybe we shouldn’t put any sized collapse past the Astros, all histories considered?
It’s the August 11th Baseball Texas Daily!
1. NEW PLAYERS
We didn’t even get to meet Tyler Smith, the infielder who was called up when the team was in New York. He was optioned today to make room for Jhan Mariñez, who was claimed off waivers by the team yesterday. Mariñez has played for, in order, the Marlins, White Sox, Rays, Brewers, and Pirates. He has a career ERA of 3.50 in his 118⅓ big-league innings, and frankly, the best way to describe the expectations for Mariñez here are “he’s a guy. He’ll throw some innings.” Mariñez will wear #49.
Meanwhile, the new #68 will be worn by Ricardo Rodriguez, who was called up from AA Frisco this week. Rodriguez didn’t even come over to the big league camp from minor league camp during Spring Training this season, but his numbers at Down East and Frisco have opened a lot of eyes this season. Rodriguez is 24, and has struck out 61 while walking just 10 in 47 innings between the two levels.
2. ROTATION CLARIFICATION
Tyson Ross will come off the disabled list tomorrow to start game two against the Astros, so there will be another roster move then. Andrew Cashner, scratched from his last start with neck stiffness, will start Sunday.
3. I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, THESE JERSEYS LOOK LIKE ICE CREAM
Player’s Weekend is coming up, and the Rangers (along with the rest of baseball) unveiled their Suicide Squad-themed jerseys on Wednesday. Despite hearkening back to the classic 1970’s powder blue era, these threads appear to have been crafted from leftover carnival food or a broken-contrast television from 1976. Powder blue is fine. Red is fine. Powder blue and red together? Someone assaulted a perfectly serene Summer sky and now it’s bleeding to death. Thanks a lot.
The Rangers will not be alone in having fashion-averse uniforms on August 25-27th. You can see the whole spectrum here. (Credit where it’s due: the socks are weird enough to be cool, and I would 100% wear one of these shirts.)
4. NICKNAME MADNESS
The good news: Player’s Weekend isn’t just about cornea abuse. The league also allowed players to pick their own nicknames (though they were subject to approval by the league. Some of the nicknames are great, some of them are predictably uncreative, and one or two players could have used a good friend: someone to grimace, shake their head, and just repeat the word “nope” until they picked a different one. The Rangers run the spectrum just like anyone else. So it’s time to GRADE THE NICKNAMES!
#1 Elvis Andrus: “Comando” - And we thought Adrian Beltre was the only one who didn’t wear a cup. C+
#3 Delino DeShields: “Poppa” - Probably a Biggie Smalls reference, and DeShields is among the shortest players on the team so it kinda works. B+
#5 Mike Napoli: “Porterhouse” - Absolutely. Yes. A+
#12 Rougned Odor: “El Tipo” - Literal translation: “The Type”. Colloquial translation: “The Guy” or “The Dude”. It’s also Odor’s Twitter handle, and a native-speaking Mom-of-a-friend tells me that “El Tipo” is the guy in Old West movies who beats the bad guys and gets the girls. Rougie does have horses, so this checks out. A-
#13 Joey Gallo: “Joe Joe” - What. Here are a few better options: Baby Kangaroo, Paul Bunyan, Supercollider, The Rooster, Actually a Horse, or Bomb Factory. Joe Joe sounds like the white half of a cover band. F.
#14 Carlos Gomez: “El Titere” - Literal translation “The Puppet”. Gomez said this nickname was given to him when he first became a professional baseball player, and a middle-aged woman tried (and failed) to seduce him, calling him her “titere”. That he somehow got the name approved anyway makes this a pretty good nickname. B+
#17 Shin-Soo Choo: “Tokki 1” - Reds writers got to this story before we did, but Joey Votto is Tokki 2; Tokki means “rabbit”, and it hearkens back to their time together with the Reds. Pretty good story, actually. Solid A.
#18 Drew Robinson: “Petey” - this is Drew’s alter-ego, whom I have not met yet, but he sounds like trouble. B+
#29 Adrian Beltre: “El Koja” - Beltre wasn’t around today in clubhouse, so I still have no idea what this means. If it’s in Polish, it translates to “The Bunk”, in Swedish, it means the “Cubbyhole” or “Cabin”. But let’s assume it’s in Spanish: I’ve heard that it is a variation of a childhood nickname “Kojak”. Also if you change the spelling a bit, you could get “the lame” or… uh, you know what, I’ll just let you do your own work on Google Translate for this one. A+ because it’s Adrian Beltre and I don’t want to be suspended.
#30 Nomar Mazara: “The Big Chill” - His real nickname, and it fits, and it was given to him by @TepidP. A+
#33 Martin Perez: “El De Guanare” - Translates loosely to “the guy from Guanare”. While accurate, it’s also super boring. D-
#35 Cole Hamels: “Hollywood” - Per rules that I just made up, you can’t get lower than a C if it’s your real nickname. So… C.
#43 Tony Barnette: “Barnitez” - He requested “Last Samurai” but not only did MLB have copyright concerns, Barnette also cut his hair this week. Barnitez sounds like a name somebody would give in badly botched an attempt to give a fake name, if their real name was, like, Tony Barnette. “Uhhhh… Antonio. Barnitez?” B- because it is fun to say.
#50 Keone Kela: “Ke” - Again, if it’s something people call you, you can’t fail this game. Plus, I’ve secretly wondered if that would be spelled “Key” or “Ke” and now I know. B-
#51 Matt Bush: “Matty Ice” - I’m sure this is an old nickname from Bush’s growing-up years, but we need to have a talk about this one. First of all, “Matty Ice” is already taken in Ranger lore. But the bigger issue here is that no one thought to suggest that a Beer-Themed nickname wasn’t the best idea, given Bush’s story? D-
#54 Andrew Cashner: “Cash” - Booooooo that’s boring. I’m changing the rules. D-
#56 Austin Bibens-Dirkx: “El Rubio” - it means “The Blonde”, and it’s a nickname he picked up playing in Venezuela. It’s also engraved on his gloves. That said, it’s not often a nickname is LESS interesting than the usual last name, so I can’t give this any higher than a B.
#58 Alex Claudio ...is, uhhhhhhh probably getting a new nickname before Player’s Weekend. May I suggest Karate Kid.
#61 Robinson Chirinos: “Pelo Buche” - Okay, so I know Pelo means “hair” but Google tells me “buche” means “maw”. And “Pelo Buche” means “By the crop”. Even my friend’s mom doesn’t know. But if it means I can call Robinson Chirinos “Hair Maw” from now on, I’m okay with giving this a solid B.
#62 Jose Leclerc: “Pico” - Well, look at that. Even Jose Leclerc came up with a better Joey Gallo nickname than Joey Gallo did. Pico is okay, C+, but you could have gotten an A+ with Night Fury.
#64 A.J. Griffin: “Sweet Lettuce” - Griffin told us today that “lettuce” is slang for hair. Sweet Lettuce. This is an A+ thing to put on an MLB jersey, but I would have invented a new letter, even better than A, if he had been allowed to use his first suggestion: “Lebowski”.
Of course, the best outcome here would have been to just put Grubes in charge of this whole weekend.
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.
You can follow Levi Weaver on Twitter at @ThreeTwoEephus, or for fewer puns and more straight-forward Baseball News updates, you can follow us at @BaseballTX, or download the app and get in-game updates and notifications by clicking on the logo below!