Jeter has morphed into a beloved figure during his 19-year career with the New York Yankees, and there is one man who will take special notice of the pregame ceremony at Globe Life Park and how he handles himself: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.
Andrus is a 25-year old shortstop from Maracay, Venezuela, who idolized Jeter for his professionalism on and off the field. He tries Jeter's signature jump throw from short when the moment fits during games.
If Jeter is the symbol for what a baseball shortstop is supposed to look like, then Andrus wants to be that.
"I think he's a perfect role model for any player, the way he handles himself on the field, especially the way he handles himself away from the field," Andrus said. "He's never been in trouble, he knows how to handle media, especially playing in New York. I can only image how much pressure he has every single day. He's a guy as soon as he steps on the field you can see how professional he is and the thing is everybody on the field respects him, and that's something really hard to earn."
From an intimate space, Andrus learned more about the game playing beside the now-retired Michael Young and Omar Vizquel. Each told him about leadership in a clubhouse and becoming a positive influence on the field.
You see Andrus' attempts at this every night. Any pop fly that hangs over the shallow portions of left field turn into a sprint between Andrus and the left fielder.
Andrus believes he's responsible for handling that.
While he might defer to veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre on pop flies hovering near third, it is Andrus who has emerged as the future of this infield.
Yes, there are younger players waiting for their chance in this organization. Yu Darvish and Beltre are the leading men for this franchise.
But Andrus is trying to make this his team, and particularly turn into the captain of the infield and one day perhaps be the leader of his team like Jeter in New York.
"That's what you strive to be," manager Ron Washington said. "It's not numbers you're striving to be, it's the way you carry yourself. It's character. [Jeter's] personality, his attitude, his commitment to the [game]. Having him around, that makes people realize their goals. That's intangibles. Those are things you can't teach. You can't buy that anywhere. I don't care how much money you got."
Andrus remembers meeting Jeter for the first time at the 2010 All-Star Game. Andrus didn't want to sweat Jeter, so he tried to be smooth.
"I was OK, 'That's my idol, I don't want to push him, bother him,' but he was super cool," Andrus said. "He's a guy you could ask him whatever, and he's willing to help you. No matter who you are, whether you're a rookie or a veteran, he's going to treat you the same way. And that's what you learn from guys, and no matter how big of a baseball player he is, the way he handles himself is he stays humble all the time."
Jeter said he's fortunate and humbled by the pregame ceremonies and the chats he conducts with teammates and players of opposing teams. He knows there are young players trying to be like him.
"I got a chance to play against him," Jeter said of Andrus. "He's fun to watch and play against, and to watch him play, see him develop, see him improve and get to know him a little bit. Talk to him, and it's one of the things I enjoy doing, especially at All-Star Games. You get an opportunity to meet all sorts of personalities, and I've always enjoyed watching him play here in Texas."
July has been a nightmare for the Rangers.
Coming into the series finale with the Yankees, the Rangers are 5-20 this month.
Last season, the Rangers were 11-15 in July and were outscored by their opponents, 121-101, but there was some good news. A 20-7 August pushed the Rangers in good shape heading into the pennant race before it all fell apart in September.
In 2012, a 9-14 finish was followed by a 19-10 mark in August.
So there could be some good news regarding the Rangers in the next month of the season. In the second half of 2014, the Rangers are 4-8, and despite Sunday's 9-3 defeat to the AL West leading Oakland Athletics, the Rangers have played a better brand of ball.
Elvis Andrus' stretch: The starting shortstop had three hits in Tuesday's loss to the Yankees and it was the seventh time this year he's had three hits in a game. He's extended his hitting streak to six games and is hitting .409 during this stretch. Andrus had a tough 0-12 slump last week and has played well in the last few games.
Martin ends a slump: Leonys Martin was in a 0-for-16 slump going into the Tuesday game before he ended his slump with a seventh inning triple. He added a single in the ninth.
"It was awesome to hit like that," Martin said. "You like to score more runs but I had five at bats. I kept within myself and I felt strong. I just wanted to keep fighting."
Colby Lewis gets the start: After recovering from his surgery, Lewis, who starts against the Yankees on Wednesday, said he's gaining strength on a regular basis. The veteran right-hander has allowed three runs or less in four of his last five starts. In that one start, Lewis gave up 13 runs, 11 earned in a loss to the Angels. And while Lewis said he's feeling better the numbers indicate he's still struggling in someways. He's 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in his last six starts. At The Glove, Lewis is 1-5 with a 8.40 ERA in nine starts.
The Texas Rangers first baseman was all over the place in the 12-11 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
Arencibia’s night summed up the Rangers' season pretty neatly.
“Not enough,” he said of describing his evening. “It was a good game, but I want to help the team win and unfortunately we were one run short tonight.”
The 25-year-old starter on Tuesday was Nick Martinez, who is still learning about the big leagues. He retired 13 of 14 hitters after a first-inning walk. He couldn’t finish the sixth inning.
Completing innings is something pitching coach Mike Maddux demands of his pitchers, both experienced and inexperienced.
Martinez, who lasted 5⅔ innings, couldn’t do it. It wasn’t totally his fault, but a few plays here and there might have helped him.
For instance, after Brett Gardner’s leadoff double in the top of the third, Derek Jeter hit a ball off Martinez’s glove that was fielded by Elvis Andrus at short. Andrus’ throw beat Jeter to the bag and he was ruled out. The Yankees challenged the play and it was overturned because Arencibia’s foot wasn’t on the bag.
If Prince Fielder or Mitch Moreland was playing first base -- more experienced than Arencibia, who was playing just his ninth career game at the position -- Jeter might have been out.
Injuries to Fielder and Moreland have forced the Rangers to play nine different first basemen this season. The inning kept going and had no ending until the Yankees scored seven times to take an 8-4 lead.
There was something else in the inning that raised more questions about the direction of the club. Right fielder Alex Rios committed an error as he let a ball hit off his glove despite calling for it. The ball then hit Leonys Martin in the head.
Manager Ron Washington said it cost his team only a run and not the ballgame.
For a good percentage of the season, we’ve seen outfielders almost crash into each other and infielders backing up into the lower portions of the outfield just steps away from playing bump-and-run with a corner outfielder.
Martin said he didn’t hear Rios call for the ball.
That happens too much for the Rangers in the outfield given the experience of Rios and left fielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Of course, Andrus has to make adjustments in dealing with Choo when he chases a fly ball in shallow left field. Choo is playing with a sore left ankle and Andrus feels the need to compensate for that by taking on more responsibilities covering fly balls.
The Rangers, as is the case with any team with 65 losses by late July, are a mess.
“We didn’t quit, we kept fighting,” Washington said of how his team played. “We could have very easily laid it down but we didn’t. We kept going. When you keep believing good things happen, and we were one swing away from winning the ballgame.”
Yeah, that one swing from Adrian Beltre, the Rangers’ best hitter.
The Rangers loaded the bases in the ninth against Yankees closer David Robertson and Beltre worked the count to 3-2. The final pitch of the night was a fly ball to left caught by Gardner, just three steps shy of the warning track.
“I jumped the fence, I thought it had a chance to get out,” Arencibia said.
“That’s as bad as you could suck and still get one of baseball’s best hitters out,” Robertson said. “I feel like the luckiest guy, as bad as I pitched.”
The Rangers, now 5-20 in July, wished they had some of the Yankees' luck.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Brett Gardner had four hits to go with a tremendous sliding catch and the New York Yankees held on for a 12-11 victory at Texas on Tuesday night in spite of J.P. Arencibia's seven RBIs.
Gardner had a leadoff homer and two doubles, and he reached base twice in a seven-run sixth that put the Yankees ahead to stay.
He started the inning with a double and scored on Carlos Beltran's two run-single, then reached on a three-base error that deflected off two outfielders and sent home the rally's final run.
Arencibia homered twice and drove in seven runs for Texas, including a grand slam. He also had two doubles to be the first Rangers player with four extra-base hits since Josh Hamilton's four-homer game at Baltimore on May 8, 2012.
The last player with at least seven RBIs in a loss was Jonathan Lucroy in 2012, when Milwaukee fell to the Cubs, STATS said.
ARLINGTON, Texas -– A wild Tuesday night that lasted nearly four hours at Globe Life Park ended when Yankees closer David Robertson retired the Rangers' Adrian Beltre on a long fly ball to preserve a 12-11 victory.
Robertson's 31-pitch ninth inning had some drama as the Rangers cut a 12-9 deficit to one and loaded the bases with their best hitter at the plate with two out. But Robertson's 3-2 pitch ended things.
The Rangers' J.P. Arencibia, however, tried to win Tuesday night's game by himself.
Sure, the Rangers' catcher-turned-first baseman can't do it all, but in reality he almost did.
Arencibia drove in a career-high seven runs, hit two homers, one of which was a grand slam, and had four hits.
Arencibia's night becomes a highlight in a lost season for a Rangers team that now has 65 losses.
How it happened: It wasn’t pretty, but the Rangers led 4-1 thanks to three RBIs from Arencibia heading into the sixth inning.
Here’s the short version of what happened: The Yankees scored seven runs, six earned, sent 11 men to the plate, drew two walks and took a commanding 8-4 lead. It was the most runs the Rangers have allowed in the sixth inning this season and marked the third time the Rangers have given up at least seven runs in a single inning.
Now the long version of the inning: Nick Martinez had retired seven consecutive batters before a Brett Gardner double (one of his three hits) started the sixth. Derek Jeter hit a shot off Martinez’s glove that was fielded by Elvis Andrus. The throw to first beat Jeter and he was ruled out, but Arencibia didn’t keep his foot on the bag. You could say Arencibia (in his ninth career start at first) didn’t stretch out enough. The Yankees challenged the ruling and the play was overturned. So now, instead of one on and one out, Martinez had two on and two outs. Beltre made a nice backhanded catch of a Jacoby Ellsbury popup on the lip of the Yankees' dugout.
Martinez walked Mark Teixeira and the fun stated. Carlos Beltran drove in two with a hit and Brian McCann hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. A Brendan Ryan double drove in two more runs for a 7-4 advantage and the final and maybe fitting end to this madness came on a fly ball from Gardner. Right fielder Alex Rios called for the ball and he closed his glove before it landed in his webbing. The ball bounced off his glove and hit center fielder Leonys Martin in the left side of the head, bringing in the last run of the inning. Rios was charged with an error, and by the time Jeter struck out to end the sixth, the game, in essence was over.
The Rangers' response: Down 10-4, the Rangers responded with a four-run seventh inning. Arencibia capped the inning with a grand slam to left off Yankees reliever Dellin Betances to cut the deficit to 10-8. It was Arencibia's third career grand slam and first for the Rangers since Nelson Cruz hit on on July 5, 2013, against Houston. One more thing about Arencibia: His four extra-base hits marked the first time that's been done since Josh Hamilton did it May 8, 2012. That night, Hamilton hit four home runs. Six runs were scored in the seventh inning and a total of 84 pitches thrown, 35 by Texas and 49 from New York.
Mendez’s scoreless streak is over: Washington praised the efforts of rookie right-handed reliever Roman Mendez, who started his career with eight consecutive scoreless innings. Washington said Mendez uses all his pitches, throws strikes and utilizes a backdoor slider to left-handed hitters. Mendez allowed two runs in the seventh to end the streak. He walked the first two hitters, Ellsbury and Teixeira, before allowing RBI singles by Beltran and Chase Headley to right.
What’s next?: The Rangers have a chance to win this series. Yeah, they do. Colby Lewis (6-8, 6.23 ERA) faces Hiroki Kuroda (7-7, 3.99) on Wednesday night.
Nick Tepesch will not pitch Friday against the Indians and will be replaced by veteran journeyman Jerome Williams.
Miles Mikolas will go Saturday and Yu Darvish will get pushed back an extra day and pitch on Sunday.
Tepesch left his last start on Saturday after going six innings because of a slight knee problem. Tepesch has some swelling in the knee and the Rangers told him not to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.
“It feels a lot better than it did the other day,” said Tepesch, 3-7 with a 4.84 ERA. “I’d say [the knee] is close [to 100 percent]. I won’t say it’s 100 percent.”
Manager Ron Washington said the goal is for Tepesch eventually to throw a bullpen (although the date hasn’t been decided) and pitch next Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.
Williams’ scheduled start comes after he was a spot starter last week and earned a victory against the Oakland Athletics. Williams held the A’s, who lead the majors in runs scored, to just one run over six innings in a 4-1 victory.
Washington said moving Tepesch was mainly a precaution and nothing more.
“Just skip him a turn, give him this one turn and he should be ready to go when we get to Chicago,” Washington said. “He took himself out of a game and we don’t want to rush him back; he’s missing just one turn through the rotation. Give him a chance to catch up.”
Darvish getting more rest: With Tepesch skipping a turn, it meant the Rangers' staff ace, Darvish, will pitch on five days' rest instead of his customary four.
After Sunday’s scheduled start against Cleveland, Darvish is slated to pitch Aug. 8 or Aug. 9 at Houston, where he could pitch either on four or five days' rest for one of those games.
“But we got these off-days coming and we want to try and give everybody a break if we can, including Darvish,” Washington said. “After this next off day in Houston [Aug. 7] he’ll get back on five [days' rest] and run it out through August.”
Martin's struggles continue: The numbers are pretty bad. Leonys Martin is 0-for-13 during this six-game homestand and is 0-for-16 in the past five games to drop his batting average to .273.
“Marty has to start using the whole field,” Washington said. “He just uses one part of the field. He’s much more successful when he uses the whole field. I think if you go look up the numbers you will see most of his hits are from [up the middle]. He’s got to do something different.”
Martin has 44 hits up the middle, but he’s got 18 RBIs when he pulls the ball to the left side with a slash line of .356/.356/.622.
“I haven’t been doing well, but you gotta keep fighting,” Martin said. “Mentally, I’m there and think about every pitch and keep fighting that’s all I can do right now. The last couple of games, I hit a couple of good balls. I can only control what I can do and keep fighting to do more."
For 23-year old Texas Rangers starter Nick Martinez, it’s about proving to the front office that he deserves a chance to fight for a rotation spot next spring.
He’s got to show the Rangers brass he can be consistent and that he's better than the pitcher who has gone 1-6 with a 4.73 ERA this season. Martinez is 1-5 as a starter, with the lone win coming May 24 in Detroit.
On Tuesday night, Martinez will try to build off his last outing against the Yankees. In his last start July 22 in the Bronx, Martinez shut out the Yankees over 5 1/3 innings, allowing just three hits while striking out three and walking one.
For Martinez, who was making his first start since a stint on the disabled list because of with discomfort in his left side, it's another opportunity to show what he can do.
“Just finish strong, show that I can pitch deep in some ballgames and get myself out of trouble when I limit big innings and continue to give my team a chance to win and go into next year,” Martinez said. “I still have to prove myself. As long as I come back, learn from this year and show that I’ve learned going into the spring and I’m able to apply it, I think I have a shot.”
The front office will be taking a close look at its staff heading into 2015, with pitching is a major concern behind ace Yu Darvish. No. 2 starter Derek Holland will have a rehab start Wednesday as he recovers from microfracture surgery. Matt Harrison is out after back surgery. Martin Perez had Tommy John surgery. And veteran Colby Lewis has compiled a 6-8 record with a 6.23 ERA this season coming off hip surgery.
The opportunity is there for Martinez to make his case for a rotation spot in 2015.
“I want to attack hitters and establish my fastball,” he said of his plan against the Yankees. “Change speeds and try to repeat what I did last time.”
The right-hander earned his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, which ended with him retiring Derek Jeter on a ground ball to short.
“It felt good,” Feliz said. “I tried to keep my pitches down and get a ground ball and get three outs.”
Feliz is a different pitcher now than the one who rode a blazing fastball to 72 saves in 2010-11. Tommy John surgery has since sapped miles per hour off his offerings.
Feliz will throw in the mid-to-low 90s, and he sometimes has to show a little finesse rather than trying to power past hitters.
An example of this came Friday night against the Oakland Athletics, when Feliz took over the closer's role for the traded Joakim Soria. Feliz needed 26 pitches and had to get two outs with two runners on base to get his first save.
Maybe it was nerves that made things slightly difficult for Feliz that night, because Monday he was much smoother on the mound in his second appearance as closer.
“When we get a lead at 4-2, I want to come out there and attack the hitters and try to keep ground balls and get people out,” Feliz said.
Monday, that last out came against Jeter, who got to starter Yu Darvish for three hits and a walk.
“Jeter is a really good hitter,” Feliz said. “I tried to throw my fastball away and get a ground ball, and that’s what happened.”
Martin’s slump: Center fielder Leonys Martin is 0-for-16 with five strikeouts and two walks during the past five games. After a two-hit night last week in a rain-shortened game against the Yankees, Martin has struggled at the plate.
Martin has particularly struggled against left-handers this season, posting a slash line of .213/.250/.250. Fortunately for the 26-year-old, neither New York starter in the remaining two games of the series is a southpaw.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish didn’t have any command of his fastball on Monday night.
So he went to a slider, a pitch the Texas Rangers want to use against the New York Yankees' hitters to create matchup problems.
It worked well for Darvish, who earned his 10th win of the season in the Rangers’ 4-2 victory over the Yankees at Globe Life Park.
“He bent but he didn’t break,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of his ace. “There were a couple of innings there where I could see he was getting a little upset by the results. He never gave in and he kept pitching, and he found a pitch he could go to.
In Darvish’s last start against the Yankees, he threw his slider 34 percent of the time. Darvish has relied more and more on his breaking pitches in the second half of the season. He threw them 35.9 percent of the time in his first start of the second half at Toronto.
You just have to go with what works.
Against Gardner, nothing was working.
In the third, Gardner hit a two-seam fastball to center field for the first run of the game. In the fifth, Darvish tried a cutter and Gardner sent it 407 feet to center for a 2-0 lead. Darvish was behind the mound smiling in disbelief that Gardner hit the ball so far.
“Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to go out,” Darvish said through his interpreter. “But I just blame the parents of Brett Gardner. I just blame them for creating a great hitter.”
Gardner has four career home runs against Darvish, with three coming this year. In Darvish’s career, only three hitters have four homers against him: Mike Trout, Brandon Moss and Gardner.
But Darvish survived Gardner’s two-homer night, as well as Jeter’s three hits and a walk.
It was the seventh inning when Darvish excelled:
The Yankees were rallying from a two-run deficit and were down two outs but had two hits from, yeah, Gardner and Jeter before Darvish faced Brian McCann.
The count went 2-2 as Darvish threw a cutter in the dirt. And instead of someone hitting it out the park, McCann missed it.
Darvish pumped his arms twice and yelled as the crowd of 44,508 screamed with him.
Darvish tried to downplay the emotions of the evening by simply stating, “I’m just glad they didn’t tie the game.”
Washington was a little more expansive when describing the work of his pitcher who rarely shows emotions on the field.
“That was just an example of his competitive juices; that was a tough inning,” Washington said. “The game could have been tied right there if he didn’t get out of that inning. Once he got out of that inning, of course, he should show excitement. I’m glad he did. It was a tense time.”
Darvish struck out eight through seven innings of work, allowing the two runs on nine hits. He threw 108 pitches, including 80 for strikes, in what can’t be described as a dominant effort but one that was solid and offers additional evidence why he’s the Rangers’ ace.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When his night was over, Rangers ace Yu Darvish pumped his arms twice and yelled as loud as he could.
The crowd of 44,508 let out a louder “Yuuuuuu” as he walked off the mound.
It’s nights like this that remind you how special baseball can be around here, especially with Darvish on the mound.
The Rangers ended a two-game losing streak with a nice 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday night.
By mixing up his pitches, including using an effective slider, Darvish (10-6) was strong in seven innings of work. He now has won at least 10 games in each of his first three seasons in the big leagues.
Rangers first baseman J.P. Arencibia had the big hit -- a two-out, two-strike single to break a 2-2 tie -- but it was Darvish with the bigger blow.
He struck out Brian McCann on a pitch landing in the dirt with two on and two out to end the seventh inning with the biggest out of the game.
The Rangers’ bullpen, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz (second save), kept things under control to conclude the game.
How it happened?: The Yankees jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Brett Gardner’s solo home runs. In Gardner’s career, he’s produced four home runs against Darvish, tied with Mike Trout and Brandon Moss. On the season, Darvish has allowed 13 home runs. He allowed 26 last season. After Darvish gave up the second homer of the night to Gardner in the fifth, he smiled in disbelief.
The Rangers’ hitters responded for Darvish in their half of the fifth, all of it happening with two outs. Elvis Andrus drove in the first run with a single to left. An Alex Rios single to center set up Adrian Beltre, the Rangers’ best hitter. He ripped a double to left, bringing in Andrus to tie the game. Yankees starter David Phelps walked Jim Adduci to set up Arencibia, who left five runners on base in the loss to Oakland on Sunday night.
This time, Arencibia delivered with a solid single up the middle to drive in two runs that pushed the Rangers to a 4-2 lead. Arencibia has nine of the Rangers’ 30 RBIs in the second half of the season, including four on this six-game homestand.
History is made: Derek Jeter got a standing ovation from the crowd during his first at-bat, then was booed for stepping out of the box when he didn’t like a strike called against him. It doesn’t matter; Jeter had three hits and a walk. The biggest hit, of course, was his seventh-inning single to right that moved him past Carl Yastrzemski for seventh place on the all-time hit list at 3,420.
The first game is the thing: For the fourth time in the second half of the season, the Rangers won the first game of a series. They haven’t won a series since taking two of three against Minnesota June 27-29, but the Rangers have won the first game of series against New York (twice), Toronto and Oakland. Texas is 2-13-1 in the past 16 series and has lost its past seven since beating the Twins back in June.
What’s next?: RHP Nick Martinez (1-6, 4.73) takes on RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.45/5-10, 4.49) in Game 2 at The Globe.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish struck out eight in seven innings for his 10th victory and J.P. Arencibia had a tiebreaking two-run single for the Texas Rangers in a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday night.
Darvish (10-6) shouted out and pumped his fist after his final strikeout, when Brian McCann swung and missed to end the seventh with two runners on base.
Brett Gardner homered twice and Derek Jeter had three hits -- to pass Carl Yastrzemski on the hits list -- off the All-Star right-hander, who threw 80 of his 108 pitches for strikes five days after losing a rain-shortened game in New York.
David Phelps (5-5) lost for the first time in nine starts, allowing four runs and eight hits over six innings. The right-hander, like Darvish, was credited with a complete game last Wednesday in the 2-1 Yankees victory that didn't resume after rain in the bottom of the fifth inning.
It could be Nick Tepesch, but inflammation in his left knee forced him out of his start on Saturday night. Manager Ron Washington said Tepesch’s bullpen session will determine a lot.
“You want to see how he does,” Washington said of Tepesch. “He’s got to get through his bullpen and not have any issues afterwards.”
The Rangers could also use Jerome Williams, who earned a victory on Friday night against the Athletics. Of course, Miles Mikolas, Sunday’s starter, could take the turn as well on his normal four days rest.
“We’ll know more Wednesday and see how we’ll set it up,” Washington said.
Arencibia keeps swinging: First baseman J.P. Arencibia is improving in the field and continues to have ups and downs at the plate. He struck out twice, swinging, with men on base in Sunday’s loss to the Athletics.
Arencibia is 2-for-10 on this six-game home stand but has four RBIs in the last six games and seven of the Rangers' 26 RBIs in the second half of the year belong to him.
“It’s part of the game, it’s why that guy is an All-Star,” Arencibia said of Oakland pitcher Scott Kazmir, who recorded both strikeouts on Arencibia. “It’s going to happen to the best players in baseball and it happens to everybody.”
Arencibia was back in the lineup for Monday’s game against the New York Yankees and batting sixth.
Williams waits his turn: After a solid outing on Saturday night, Williams continues to wait for his time. Williams said he’s available in a relief appearance starting Monday night or he can get another start.
“I have no clue,” Williams said regarding his role. “Just playing it by ear. It doesn’t matter as long as I go out and perform. I’ve been doing the same thing the last three years. I know the rules, I just want to help the team as best as possible.”
Williams allowed one run on five hits in six innings of work as a spot starter while Tepesch was given an extra day of rest because he was an emergency reliever.
Base Hits: The Rangers enter the game having dropped 17 ½ games in the standings since June 17. The Rangers went from seven games out to 24 ½ behind the first-place A’s in the AL West. ... The Rangers have won their three series openers in the second half of the season.
Manager Ron Washington isn’t sweating it right now, because with the inconsistency of the starting rotation, the more bullpen help you have the better.
As of now, Jim Adduci, Adam Rosales and Chris Gimenez are coming off the bench. Adduci was a pinch hitter for J.P. Arencibia on Sunday against the Athletics and might get a start at first against the New York Yankees this week.
Rosales got a start on Sunday and hit a two-run homer on Sunday in place of everyday second baseman Rougned Odor.
Gimenez, who Washington joked is an emergency relief pitcher, will backup at catcher.
How long can the Rangers survive with three bench players is uncertain. When the non-waiver trade deadline passes on Thursday afternoon, the Rangers could lose one relief pitcher and maybe a position player.
Jerome Williams' spot start morphing into a victory on Friday gave Washington another long-reliever to use if necessary and he continues to hold onto two lefties in the bullpen in Neal Cotts and Ryan Feierabend. Cotts is the subject of trade talk so his status is uncertain.
Smolinski is hitting off a tee and doing soft toss. He hasn't run yet, so the Rangers could maintain a short bench for a while or make a roster move for a position player.
Some of these issues will be cleared up after Thursday.
Darvish faces the Yankees again: Staff ace Yu Darvish faces the Yankees on Monday night at Globe Life Park. It’s the second time Darvish will face the Yankees in less than a week. He pitched against them last Wednesday in a game that was called after 4 1/3 innings due to poor field conditions and the forecast of more rain.
“I try not to think about it and just want to go deep in a game as much as possible,” said Darvish, who was credited with a complete game.
Darvish only threw 67 pitches so he should feel slightly stronger for Monday’s contest.
The Rangers have received some quality starts from Nick Tepesch (six innings on Saturday) and Williams (six innings on Friday) of late which is something Darvish can build on. Miles Mikolas was pitching well until two bad innings forced Washington to yank him after 4 2/3 innings on Sunday night.
Darvish is 2-1 with a no-decision in his last four starts against the Yankees with a 1.85 ERA. Outside of the rain-shortened game, Darvish has pitched into at least the sixth inning in three of his last four starts against the Yankees.