Date: Friday, June 9th
Rangers’ Record: 27-32 (4th place, 15 games behind Houston)
Tonight’s Opponent: Washington Nationals (38-21)
Tonight’s Starters: Andrew Cashner (2-5, 3.39) vs. Tanner Roark (6-2, 3.95)
When the Rangers beat the Mets on Tuesday night, it came on a day when the Astros blew a 7-1 lead to the worst team in the American League, meaning that for the first time since the final game in Detroit (May 21st), they had gained ground in the standings. That night, they moved from 6.5 back to 5.5 back. Of course, Tuesday’s win only brought them from 15.5 back to 14.5, but it was something.
The hope is that when the Rangers return from this Washington / Houston road trip, we’ll have seen the Rangers have a few more of those nights. But it won’t be easy: Washington is the best team in the National League, and Houston the best in the AL.
Tonight, the Rangers start their quest to pass unscathed through the Strait of Monsters
It’s the June 9th Baseball Texas Daily.
1. Adrian Beltre is again the story of the day. He tweaked his ankle in Tuesday’s game, and was out of action Wednesday. The question of whether Beltre would play tonight, go on the disabled list, or just be on the bench for another game or two was completely unanswered as of about three hours before game time, when word began to trickle in from the writers in Washington D.C. that Beltre would not be in the lineup. Still no one was sure whether Beltre would need just one more night, or whether the DL would be the decision. In the meantime…
2. Jurickson Profar hasn’t been in the Round Rock lineup the last two nights, so it was pretty obvious that he would be joining the team in D.C, even before Profar was seen taking batting practice. But in Jeff Banister’s time with the media (still around three hours before game time) he said that it still wasn’t assured it would be Beltre who Profar would be replacing on the Roster. It wasn’t until just under two hours from first pitch that the announcement finally came, saying that….
3. Dario Alvarez would be headed back to Round Rock to make room on the 25-man roster for Profar. Alvarez had recently come off the disabled list, but the Rangers needed more offensive options in the National League park, since pinch-hitting for the pitcher is a near inevitability. Tonight’s lineup has Choo in right field, Mazara in left, and DeShields in center, with Profar starting at third base and Gallo at first. That means the Rangers bench tonight is Jared Hoying, Robinson Chirinos, Pete Kozma, and–perhaps in an emergency–Adrian Beltre, who would likely only be available for pinch-hitting duties, if at all.
4. If you recognize the name Tanner Roark, either you pay attention to the entire league, orr…. Perhaps you remember that Roark was a 25th-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2008. Roark left the organization in 2010 when he was traded, along with Ryan Tatusko, to the Nationals for Cristian Guzman, since the Rangers needed a utility infielder for their first World Series run. Guzman played in 15 regular season games for Texas that year, earning a -0.7 WAR, hitting just .152 with one extra-base hit and one RBI. He made one error in 9 defensive chances, and did not make the postseason roster, losing out to Esteban German and Andres Blanco. It was Guzman’s last year in Major League Baseball.
Meanwhile, Roark is 48-30 with a career ERA of 3.12 in 131 MLB games since making his debut in 2013. He finished 10th in Cy Young award voting last season, an award won by his teammate Max Scherzer (whom the Rangers will likely face on Sunday). Roark also starred for team U.S.A in the World Baseball Classic, though no one knows more than Rangers fans just how misleading that can be when it comes to forming regular-season expectations.
5. Utility Catcher? It's not as crazy as it sounds, and the Rangers have a candidate in Isiah Kiner-Falefa, says Kate Morrison.
6. Should the Rangers chase the Wild Card? Matt Fisher takes a look at the factors.
7. Matt Bush is likely unavailable for tonight, at least, having thrown over fifty pitches in the two games against the Mets. But if he makes his return against the Nationals, we could see a series in which the two closers throw the two fastest sliders in baseball.
I’ve spent most of this week re-listening to Regina Spektor’s “Begin to Hope” from 2006. I’m not prepared to say it’s Spektor’s best record, or even my favorite–depending on the day, it could rank anywhere from 1-4, waltzing between “What We Saw from the Cheap Seats”, “Soviet Kitsch”, and “Far” (and I haven’t yet listened to last year’s “Remember Us to Life”)–but it is the one that I’ve been listening to this week.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org or a tweet here.
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