Before the Rangers can get back to respectability, they need to have accountability. They need to make the tough choices.
Little by little they are. Willie Calhoun on the field is not the .300 hitter he is in his mind. He was given ample time to find that elusive guy. He never did.
When a team is as bad offensively as this team has been the past few years, and this year as well, and you are striving to correct that, the only way to do it is to start cleaning out the dead wood.
Willie Calhoun was on that bus to Frisco. Nick Solak got a ticket as well. Andy Ibanez will soon be riding it. Eli White deserves a free, all-expenses paid trip to Frisco soon, as well.
So, too, does Nathanial Lowe. Reggie Jackson was nicknamed Mr. October for his post-season heroics. Nathaniel Lowe is Mr. April.He comes storming out the the gate when the bell rings. Then, just like that, he disappeared.
Last season, Lowe started like gangbusters. He was literally busting gangs. Last year, he was the hottest hitter on the Rangers in April. If there was a runner on base, he drive it in. He had twenty-two RBIs in April. Then, just like that, he disappeared for a few months. He came back in August and September to make his season respectable. But the time off sure didn’t help things.
This year, he got out of the gate hitting .313 in April with an OPS of .798. Then, April went away, as it does every year, and so did Lowe’s productivity, as it seems to every year. In May, Lowe is barely hitting at all, batting .153 with an OPS of .410. That’s the realm of most pitchers. And they have been banned from picking up a bat.
It seems it’s Lowe’s turn to be held accountable. It’s about time.
Texas has the weird quirky advantage of having three catchers who can hit. And right now, they are about all that is hitting. But you can’t play three catchers at once.
Since Mitch Garver hurt his arm, he is going to be deployed at DH for the foreseeable future, probably the rest of the season.
So, that means either Heim or Huff will get the start at catcher. The other, unfortunately, will have to sit. You can’t play two catchers at the same time. But they are the two hottest hitters on the team.
Finally, though, the Rangers got smart. Last night, they started Sam Huff at first. It was his first major league start at first base, which is a key defensive position, which is an aspect of baseball the Rangers have tended to ignore at their own peril. You usually want to have someone out there who knows his way around first base. But right now, more than anything, they need someone who knows how to use a bat.
What they really need is someone who can hit. Anyone who can hit. And, if Nathanial Lowe has proven anything, he won’t be doing that again until the second half of the season. The Rangers can’t wait that long.
Sam Huff did fine defensively. Fine enough his first game there. He ended up getting one hit. Mitch Garver got a hit, a home run in fact, and drove in two. And Jonah Heim walked and scored a run.
With the three in the lineup, the Rangers won 7-2.
Accountability is a good thing. Especially in baseball. It’s the only thing that matters in winning baseball. It’s harsh but necessary.
Accountability is the Rangers only road back to respectability.