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Thoughts on a 9-1 Rangers loss

Pirates 9, Rangers 1

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates 9, Rangers 1

  • Well, that was a disaster.
  • Cole Hamels wasn't good today.  He held the Pirates to 1 run through the first 4 innings, but then couldn't get out of the fifth, allowing 5 runs and leaving the game with the bases loaded and two outs.  Final line was 4.2 IP, 8 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 2 walks, 5 Ks, 2 home runs.  Hamels was victimized by a bad throw from Mitch Moreland in the fifth, but the bigger problem was just that he wasn't pitching well.
  • Luke Jackson needed a good outing, after being up and down so far this year, and he had a pretty decent outing.  Jackson got a pop up to escape the fifth, and ended up allowing just 1 run in 2.1 IP, on an Andrew McCutchen opposite field shot that barely made it into the wedge.  Still, with 42 pitches today, Jackson could be going back to AAA tomorrow to get a fresh arm up...but whether he stays up or goes down, this is at least an outing to build on, and hopefully will get him more chances going forward.
  • Alex Claudio, in the Yoshi Tateyama sidearming garbage time role, pitched two innings, made some guys look foolish with his changeup, and allowed a two run home run.
  • As far as the offense goes, Adrian Beltre hit a home run, and that was it for the scoring.  Beltre, Nomar Mazara and Bobby Wilson each had two hit nights, and Prince Fielder had a double, but otherwise, not much going on.
  • Here's what I don't get about this game, was a blowout.  Adrian Beltre was removed for Hanser Alberto as a pinch runner.  Ryan Rua was lifted for pinch hitter Jared Hoying.  And Joey Gallo, ostensibly up to provide the Rangers with a backup third baseman and a late inning bench bat, was nowhere to be found.  I said on Twitter that I'm reminded of when Jurickson Profar was first called up to the big leagues...that first day, Michael Young was given the start at shortstop.  That was Ron Washington sending a message...that Michael Young wasn't going to lose playing time, either at the plate or in the field, to Profar.
  • Similarly, it seems like Jeff Banister is sending a message here.  Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland are in the midst of awful slumps...and with Gallo up, they are still starting.  Today, Hanser Alberto replaced Beltre at third base -- supposedly Gallo's position -- and Hoying was the pinch hitter for Rua -- the role that Gallo was supposed to fill.  Even in the ninth inning, Bobby Wilson hit, rather than Gallo being sent up.  Gallo was called up, by surprise, on Monday, pinch hit in the ninth inning of that game, and hasn't been seen since, even in opportunities where he would seem to be a fit.
  • And I can't figure this out.  Gallo had played just four games at AAA after missing almost three weeks with a groin injury.  He seemingly needs to be getting at bats after missing time.  If the Rangers just needed a warm body to sit on the bench until it was time to call up Jurickson Profar, Brett Nicholas would seem to be the guy to fill that role -- lefty bat, third catcher, can play first base, and you don't care if he sits for a week.  Instead, the Rangers took one of their top prospects, a guy considered one of the best prospects in the game, and buried him on the bench...and after Monday, seemingly did so in a way that almost seemed calculated to send a message that Gallo has no place on this team.
  • The question I have to ask is, who is that message intended for?  Is it Banister, wanting to make sure Prince and Moreland know that their jobs are safe, that he doesn't consider Gallo worthy of getting off the bench, and so they don't have to worry about his presence?  Has Gallo stepped on toes or done something to get in the doghouse, and this is intended as a lesson?  Or is there a disconnect between the front office and the manager?
  • And I think back to all the confusion on Monday about who was going on the d.l.  Remember, initially, we heard that Drew Stubbs and Shin-Soo Choo were both going on the d.l.  Then it was just Choo, and Stubbs wasn't going on the d.l.  Then it was a game time decision.  And then, finally, we learned Stubbs was going on the d.l., and Gallo was coming up.  When you see how Gallo has been utilized, when you see how he's not only not gotten a start in order to give one of the slumping veterans a day off, but is sitting on the bench so that Jared Hoying can pinch hit and Hanser Alberto can play third base and Bobby Wilson can hit, it leads one to wonder if the mixed messages and lack of clarity about what was happening with Stubbs was due to differing opinions as to what should be done with him, and who should be up.  And if the front office overruled the manager on who should be on the roster, well...the manager can certainly make a point of making it clear that, regardless of who is on the roster, the manager is going to decide who plays.
  • I don't know.  Maybe I'm overthinking things, and assigning byzantine motives when the real explanation is much simpler.  But the question I keep coming back to is, why would you call up Joey Gallo, in this situation, if you weren't planning on playing him?  And if you were planning on playing him, why didn't you?
  • Anyway, this will be moot as of tomorrow, when Gallo likely goes down to make room on the active roster for Yu Darvish.  One would assume we'll see Gallo later on this season for the Rangers...but then, Gerry Fraley says he wouldn't be surprised if Joey Gallo is traded this summer, so who knows.  I guess its possible that Fraley is right, and that pinch hit fly out on Monday is the last we see if Gallo as a Texas Ranger.  I certainly hope not, but again, one has to wonder if the field staff's opinions are influencing what Fraley is saying there.
  • Two games back as a write this, although Minnesota is stomping Seattle, so hopefully it will be 1.5 back tomorrow morning.  And we are less than 24 hours from the Return of Yu...