If there is one moment this season that defines Joey Gallo’s incredible turn around, it was in the fourth inning of last night’s game.
Before this season, Joey Gallo was a strikeout machine. Throw a pitch anywhere in the same zip code and he swung at it. Flailed is a better word. He looked lost and hopeless.
But in the fourth inning, against one of the best pitchers in the American League, a left-hander no less, Joey Gallo turned into a bona fide major league threat.
Not with a home run, like he usually gets. Or a single, like he occasionally gets. He did it with a walk. And not just any walk, a walk with bases-loaded when he had two strikes on him.
Down 1-2 in the count, Joey Gallo worked a walk that not only gave the Rangers their first, and tying, run after being shut down one-two-three for the first three innings by Dallas Keuchel, but it opened the door for a six-run inning that put away the Astros once again.
The Rangers got eight brilliant innings out of Andrew Cashner, who had a season high six strikeouts. They got a three-run homer from Mike Napoli. A three-hit game from Elvis Andrus. More highlights than they have had in a week.
Yet the biggest play of the game was Gallo’s walk.
In the past, when Gallo got to two strikes, it was a lead pipe cinch that he would strike out. Usually on the very next pitch. His career average when he has an 0-2 count is .071. When it’s 1-2, it’s .063.
With that one walk, Joey Gallo may have turned himself into the most dangerous .206 hitter in baseball.
Nick Martinez (3-5, 5.26) vs. Collin McHugh (2-2, 3.63)
Game time: 12:10