You are excused if your Rangers fanaticism reached another gear Friday night. It’s understandable.
For the first time in 2017 they fielded their full complement of players, which included Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli back in the lineup after spending time on the disabled list.
They saw right-hander Tyson Ross show why some considered him a steal when the Rangers signed him January. Sure, they had to wait until June 16 before he was healthy enough for a major league mound, but if he continues to pitch as he in Friday night’s 10-4 win against the Mariners, the Rangers will take it. Ross held the Mariners to two runs on two hits and three walks and struck out five in 5 2/3 innings. Pretty impressive for a guy who last pitched in the majors on Opening Day 2016.
To add to the good vibes, left-hander Cole Hamels started his rehab assignment Friday for Double A Frisco. He allowed one hit and struck out three in three innings. He could be back in the rotation by the end of June. The Rangers clubhouse is well aware of this. In fact, they are banking on making the most of healthy lineup.
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Right-hander Tyson Ross held the Mariners to two runs on two hits over 5 2/3 innings in his Rangers' debut Friday night (Video by Stefan Stevenson).
“Definitely. It’s a power-packed clubhouse here, and so I’m just happy to contribute and see all the guys get healthy, and we’ll be firing on all cylinders here soon,” said Ross, who earned his first win since 2015.
The Rangers have won six of seven and seven of their past nine and are back at .500.
Is it all enough to catch the Astros? Probably not. But enough to make a serious post-season run? Absolutely.
So, by all means, get jacked up and hopeful about the rest of the summer. Rangers’ fanaticism is fully operational once again.
Here’s the Rangers reaction from Friday night:
1. Return of Ross — Tyson Ross earned his first major league win since Aug. 31, 2015 when he was pitching for the Padres. His opponent? The Texas Rangers. Ross held the Rangers scoreless on three hits over seven innings that night in San Diego. Against the Mariners, he was almost as dominant. He didn’t allow a hit until a blooper dropped in center field with two outs in the fifth inning. After walking the first batter of the game (Nerves, anyone?), Ross retired the next nine batters and retired 17 of the final 21 batters he faced.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said Tyson Ross threw nothing straight Friday night in his first major league start in over a year (Video by Stefan Stevenson).
“I’m pretty stoic in my demeanor, but inside I was real excited to be out there, crossing over those white lines and being handed the ball,” Ross said. “It’s been a long time coming, and I’m just happy I was able to do a good job for the team and put us in a position to win.”
2. Beltre history watch — Only 32 people in the history of the world have more major league hits than Adrian Beltre. He tied Willie Keeler for 33rd all-time with a two-run single in the third. He now has 2,956 hits. He needs eight more to pass Sam Crawford for No. 32 all-time. His two RBIs give him 1,580, one shy of tying Jake Beckley for 43rd all-time and two from tying Al Kaline for 42nd all-time. In fact, from here on out, you’ll know the names of everyone Beltre passes on the all-time RBIs list. He increased his career total bases total to 4,963. Mel Ott, who is 20th all-time with 5,041 total bases, is next on the list.
3. Gonzo for Gomez — Carlos Gomez said he felt like a little kid before Friday’s game, his first since going on the DL on May 16. His childlike excitement didn’t let him down. He was 2 for 5 with a double and three-run homer to lead the Rangers with four RBIs.
“Today is the first day we are all together,” said Gomez, who hit behind Beltre for the first time this season. “So you know, we’ll see what happens when we have the lineup that can do the job. To come back and have a game like this, I can’t wait to come here tomorrow.”
Manager Jeff Banister is finally getting to write out the lineup he figured he’d be writing back in spring training.
“When we put those guys back in the lineup — Gomez, Beltre, Napoli — the experience of these guys, there’s no room to maneuver around,” Manager Jeff Banister said. “That’s what we envisioned. Tough outs, grinding away, being able to push runs across for us.”
4. Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson — Robinson Chirinos keeps forcing himself in the lineup. He was catching again Friday night (while Jonathan Lucroy was the designated hitter) and homered in three of his last four starts. His last three hits have been homers, including a solo homer in the fourth Friday. He is averaging a home run every 10.5 at-bats and an RBI every four at-bats this season. Not bad for a back-up catcher. Lucroy, by the way, keeps improving at the plate after a slow start. He had two more hits Friday and has multiple hits in three straight to raise his average to .275.
5. Colby Lewis returns — Did you say hello to Colby Lewis during Friday night’s Do It For Durrett benefit in the Hyundai Club? If not, that’s too bad. The former Rangers’ great returned to Globe Life Park for the first time since last October. He talked about his options during the off-season, retirement and whether he could still get major league hitters out.