Won’t it be grand to have meaningful baseball happening soon? Imagine, things like win-loss records, statistics, lineups that stay intact for most of the game, ahhhhhhh. I can’t wait. I love baseball. I really do. Which is why I’m happy that even though today’s Surprise Arizona finale between the Rangers and Royals ended in a soccer game of a 0-0 tie, at least it happened in just a squeak over two hours, which means we are one more notch in the belt closer to knowing what the team’s record is on any given day.
It’s not that today was terrible. It was still (more or less) baseball. There were even a few hits and two whole walks. The walks, of course, didn’t happen until the later innings, when guys who are fighting for jobs (or minor leaguers who were hoping to impress) got into the game. But for the first five innings, this game looked like Baseball’s equal-but-opposite response to the NBA All-Star game. No one did a whole lot on offense, and everyone was fine with it, so long as it went quickly.
And then, yes: the game ended 0-0, and now both the Rangers and Royals will board flights to DFW, where they will take the day off tomorrow, then play two games at Globe Life Park to wrap up Spring Training.
There were two (YEP, only two) noteworthy things from today’s sprint to the showers.
1. Carlos Gomez played DH, his first game action since jamming his shoulder sliding into third base a little over a week ago. Gomez went two-for-three and reached a third time on an error.
2. Dillon Gee had a no-hitter until the fifth inning, and his final line looked like this: 6 innings, 2 hits, 9 strikeouts. That’s it, and while the circumstances (last game before catching a flight out of Arizona) certainly played a factor into the number of swings, the plane ticket didn’t make the Royals miss. It was a strong final Spring outing for Gee, who is not expected to make the Rangers big-league roster for opening day. In fact, if he makes it to the big leagues at all in 2017, it would trigger a $2m payout. So unless there is a long-term injury to a starting pitcher, it’s possible that he would be leapfrogged by a less-expensive option, should the assignment be just a handful of starts. Thus, it’s possible that today’s stellar outing was one final chance for the Texan to audition for other teams in need of a fifth starter. We shall see.
That’s really it from today, I promise. Let’s all take tomorrow off, take a deep breath, and then we can meet at the ballpark on Friday and catch up after a long winter (and what seemed like an equally long Spring) away from baseball in Arlington.
Nick Martinez has been assigned to AAA. The right-hander’s performance picked up near the end of Spring, and he would likely be the first call-up, should the Rangers need another starter, but with the way the schedule works out (a fair number of off-days in April), the team figures to go Darvish, Perez, Hamels, Griffin for awhile until Cashner returns. Martinez and Cashner are both expected to pitch in games this weekend in Arlington
Shin-Soo Choo was scratched from today’s lineup; he was having dental work done.
Adrian Beltre’s calf also kept him out of today’s game. He said today that he expects to be ready by Opening Day, not going on the disabled list, but it’s a situation we will continue to monitor.