The Willie Calhoun era has begun.
Just like Nomar Mazara two seasons ago, Calhoun was called up earlier than planned due to an injury. Ironically, to Mazara.
Calhoun’s arrival was much anticipated. Most wondered why he didn’t start the season with the Rangers, or why it took an injury to get him in the big leagues instead of the play of Ryan Rua or Carlos Tocci. Especially considering he had been on fire, hitting 3.61 since June, and .429 in July with just two strikeouts.
Calhoun seemed to wonder that, too, having expressed frustration as well as a resulting momentary lapse of hustle because of it.
Just like he did last season in his first game with the Rangers, Calhoun singled last night to plate a run. Last year, he drove in Mazara in his first at-bat. This year, it was Gallo in the second.
Ironically, it’s Gallo who should be feeling the pressure of Willie Calhoun. Jon Daniels was quoted in the Dallas Morning News yesterday saying Gallo’s playing time is not guaranteed.
If Calhoun hits his way into the every day lineup, like Mazara did two seasons ago, and Choo is still with the Rangers, it would seem to be Gallo and his .180 batting average that would be the odd man out when Mazara returns.
Gallo must have read the article.
In Calhoun’s first game of the season, Gallo responded with perhaps his best game of the season. A game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. A two-run shot in the eighth. A walk. Three runs scored.
The easy part of their schedule is behind them. The Rangers started the last forty percent of the season playing mostly over-.500 teams competing for a playoff spot. It’s going to be brutal.
Desperate for something to be optimistic about, the arrival of Wille Calhoun offers that. So does Willie Calhoun igniting Joey Gallo.
Carlos Carrasco (11-5, 4.12) vs. Bartolo Colon (5-7, 4.64)
Game time: 7:05