Don't look now, but the Rangers are back within striking distance of .500, and have moved within four games of first place in the AL West, and currently sit in third after spending some time at the bottom.
- I hope everyone truly appreciates just how good Yu Darvish is. After being prematurely pulled from Tuesday night's game in Oakland, Darvish came out and tossed eight innings of 2-run baseball. He did it on eight strikeouts and only one walks, and really only ever looked to be in serious trouble in the third inning.
- In that third inning, he gave up back-to-back home solo home runs, and after having been pulled so soon on Tuesday, I wondered if we might see the bullpen earlier in this game than we would have liked.
- However, Yu settled in, tossed five more innings, and got the run support he needed to earn the win.
- The offense was able to hold up their end today as well. Notably, Joey Gallo hit his team-leading sixth home run. At this point, it would seem that Joey has earned a shot at playing every day even after Adrian Beltre returns. Likely, he'll roam out in left field, perhaps taking some time at first base and filling in for Beltre from time to time.
- Gallo now sports a wRC+ of 153, and an OPS of .914. In addition, he's been pretty damn good in the field. Many fans will see the low average and the high strikeout rate, and those things can be irritating to see when you're watching game-to-game. However, you look up and realize that when he's getting hits, they're doing significant damage, and that's really what counts.
- Robinson Chirinos has also been having a nice season in his backup catcher role. He hit a home run today that gave him four on the season in only six starts behind the plate. Raise your hand if you thought he would be one of the team leaders in homers at this point of the season.
- On the flipside, Rougned Odor just hasn't gotten things going. His BABIP is .193, which probably means he'll start having some balls fall for hits at some point, but his discipline is mostly in line with what we've come to expect. The walk rate is at 3.8%, OBP is .228, and his O-Swing% (swing percentage on balls outside of the strike zone) is above 40%, which is mostly in line with where he's been in his career. I'm sure the Rangers are -- and have been -- working with him on it, but the problem you run into is that a player like Rougie derives his passion from making things happen. I'd venture to guess that making hard contact is something that makes Rougie feel good about his game, and perhaps taking a lot of pitches -- while certainly beneficial long-term in regards to on-base percentage -- makes him feel like he needs to do "more" to contribute. It's a major factor in why plate discipline is very difficult to teach at the Major League level. He'll run into some big hits eventually, but right now, it looks pretty rough.
- One more note on the offense: Texas currently leads the AL West in runs scored, and actually has a +8 run differential. When you consider the early-season bullpen woes, combined with the fact that several key members of the team haven't really started clicking at the plate, there's every reason to be optimistic going forward. A good series against the Twins and then the Angels, then Texas heads to Houston for a series against the Astros. There's a good reason to believe the Rangers could be within striking distance of first place in the division by that point. So that's neat.
- Martin Perez will face the Minnesota Twins tomorrow evening at 7:05. Hopefully he can continue the trend of fantastic starting pitching that we've been seeing in recent games.