After the Rangers took it on the chin 11-2 to the Athletics Saturday night, the Astros beat the Mariners 2-1. So despite losing, the Rangers’ magic number dropped to five with 13 games remaining.
It’s the Rangers worst loss since Cleveland beat them 12-1 on Aug. 26. Texas responded by winning its next seven games.
So there’s that.
Here are three thoughts from Saturday’s dud:
1. What’s up with the aces? — It hasn’t been a good couple of weeks for the Rangers’ aces. Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, when they’re on, are arguably two of the best 1-2 punches in the majors. Lately, no so much. In Darvish’s past three starts (a combined 15 2/3 innings), he’s allowed 13 runs on 17 hits (including three homers) and eight walks. He’s 1-2 in the stretch. In Cole Hamels’ past four starts (a combined 18 innings) he’s allowed 21 runs on 25 hits (including four homers) and 14 walks. He’s 0-1 with three no decisions in the span. Both pitchers don’t seem too concerned. Manager Jeff Banister dismissed the idea that a pattern has developed with Darvish and decline to offer a theory on why both have struggled of late.
“Not every start has been inconsistent,” Banister said. “With Cole, obviously, we’ve seen some challenges. He’s been nicked a little bit. But these guys are still throwing quality pitches. I’m not going to get into theories. I’ve never played with baseball theories. They still have to go out there and make quality pitches. I feel like these guys are going to continue to define their rhythm and make good pitches for us.”
2. Speaking of Darvish — He was asked by a Japanese reporter after Saturday’s game if he felt out of sorts at all wearing a white jersey with blue lettering and blue cap. Darvish typically chooses the Rangers’ red jersey and red cap when he’s pitching at Globe Life Park. But the club was honoring the fallen officers in the downtown Dallas shootings in July during their annual Law Enforcement Night, and fans were encouraged to wear blue to support area officers.
Darvish answered earnestly, saying that he expressed his concerns with the Rangers’ communications chief John Blake.
“I don’t have a very good image towards blue,” Darvish said. “So I told him I didn’t want to wear it at first but then because of the Dallas police tribute I was told I had to wear blue. If I kept on saying no I would look like a jerk.”
Darvish respected the reason behind the jersey color choice and acquiesced.
“But I’m not going to wear blue anymore,” he added, only half-jokingly.
3. The gall of Gomez — Carlos Gomez continues to impress in a Rangers uniform. He hit his sixth homer for the Rangers and second in consecutive nights. He now has six in 22 games with the Rangers after only five in 85 games with the Astros. Nine of his 17 hits with the Rangers have been for extra-bases (three doubles and six homers). He had five extra-base hits (five doubles) in his first 22 games for the Astros this season.