Left-hander Martin Perez's 30th start of the season Tuesday was another good one in an important game against the Seattle Mariners, and he feels good about his season as a whole for the Texas Rangers (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com
Left-hander Martin Perez's 30th start of the season Tuesday was another good one in an important game against the Seattle Mariners, and he feels good about his season as a whole for the Texas Rangers (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

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Rangers Reaction: Maybe it’s bad juju to look ahead to 2018, but ...

September 20, 2017 12:58 AM

SEATTLE

The Texas Rangers are down to only 12 games remaining in their 2017 season after playing the Seattle Mariners in a late game Tuesday night, and it doesn’t appear as though there will be a 13th.

But those expecting to hear about the off-season and next season from club brass won’t get any answers, as the beat guys learned before Game 150.

Maybe it’s bad juju to do so, with the Rangers still not eliminated from the wild-card race. They’re now only 3  1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins, and they have only one team, the Los Angeles Angels, to pass, before working on the Twins.

How is this even possible?

It is, no matter what the Rangers have shown the world the past six months.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Tuesday and a 3-1 victory. 

1. The long, closed-door meeting Jake Diekman had Tuesday with general manager Jon Daniels and manager Jeff Banister had nothing to do with his status for the final two weeks of the 2017 season.

Diekman will close games if the right situation arises, as was the case Sunday at Anaheim, but he was not installed as the Rangers’ closer for the final 13 games.

It turns out, according to Daniels, that Diekman was having his exit interview. Maybe the closer’s role in 2018 was discussed, though Daniels and Banister weren’t willing to discuss 2018 with the beat writers.

But what will be done to address the bullpen in the off-season is a significant question facing Daniels this off-season. Do they have an in-house candidate to be the closer, or will Daniels break with his preferences and find a closer from outside the organization?

Diekman, Alex Claudio, Matt Bush and Keone Kela would be the in-house candidates, presumably, should Daniels try to fix the bullpen on the cheap. That’s what his history, outside of Joe Nathan, says he will do.

The outside candidates aren’t exactly great, with Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Rodney as free agents. But the Rangers’ bullpen wasn’t great this season. It was the weakest link, so Kintzler and the heart-stopping Rodney would help out.

Banister said that he would have no problem if Diekman is closing games for the Rangers, assuming he is at full strength come spring training. Diekman assumes that he will be after a full off-season to regain his strength after three surgeries to rid him of ulcerative colitis.

Full-strength Diekman throws his fastball 95-98 mph and can work back-to-back-to-back days. He has gone back-to-back only once since coming off the DL, and Banister indicated that he might be hesitant to do so again this season.

The Rangers know, though, that they must address the bullpen.

“The pitching staff in general,” Daniels said, also knowing that the rotation will have three vacancies.

All funds might end up going there, in light of all the evidence, and Diekman just might enter spring training as the front-runner to be the closer in 2018. 

Adrian Beltre explains why he's back in Rangers' lineup

The day after pinch hitting, Adrian Beltre returned to the Texas Rangers' lineup Thursday as their designated hitter despite lingering hamstring issues (video by Jeff Wilson).

jwilson@star-telegram.com

2. Adrian Beltre collected two hits Tuesday, pushing his career total to 3,040. He’s 13 away from tying Rod Carew for 25th on the all time list.

Beltre also scored the game’s first run, after going first to third on a Nomar Mazara double and then managing to find the plate on a Joey Gallo grounder. If Beltre were a horse, he would have been humanely destroyed long ago.

He’s a horse, alright, in another sense, and that’s why he’s playing in what appear to be meaningless games to finish the Rangers’ season. Maybe something changes once the games become mathematically meaningless, but that might not be until next week.

Or maybe nothing changes. Knowing Beltre, he will want to play whether something is on the line or not, and that will mean one less opening for Willie Calhoun to play.

Some of the fine people on the Twitter would like to see Calhoun in the lineup. Instead of Beltre? That’s blasphemy. But wasn’t Calhoun brought up to play, as the argument goes? He did play, five straight games, and there might be more chances to be had.

As Calhoun said, the big thing is that is he’s with the Rangers and getting a jump on spring training. He is getting to know the players now six weeks after the July 31 Yu Darvish trade, and feels comfortable in the clubhouse.

Calhoun should have been with the club from Sept. 1 for that purpose, whether at-bats were available or not. He knew none of the coaches and only a smattering of the players, but he knows them now and they know him.

With an opportunity to win a job out there next spring, Calhoun finds himself already on the track. That won’t change even if doesn’t get another at-bat the rest of the season. 

Martin Perez talks about his latest start, season after 30 outings

Left-hander Martin Perez's 30th start of the season Tuesday was another good one in an important game against the Seattle Mariners, and he feels good about his season as a whole for the Texas Rangers (video by Jeff Wilson).

Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

3. Martin Perez atoned for one of his few hiccups since Aug. 9 — though calling his loss last week to Seattle a hiccup is a bit tough — by allowing one run on four hits in 6  1/3 innings.

The Mariners beat him last week, snapping his career-best, seven-start winning streak, touching him for three runs in 5 1/3 innings in an 8-1 victory. Hard to blame Perez for that one.

Such is the nature of wins and losses — he won Aug. 19 despite allowing six runs in six innings — but Perez isn’t overly concerned about his personal statistics. He pitched well enough, again, for the Rangers to win.

He will start twice more this season, both against last-place Oakland, so he has a chance to keep his strong finish alive while batting down the notion that he is to blame for the Rangers’ short-comings this season.

Our man Stefan Stevenson brought that up Thursday, and there is some evidence to back it up. But was Perez more responsible than Tyson Ross? No. Or others in the bullpen not named Sam Dyson? No. What about the World Baseball Classic, in which Perez, Dyson, Adrian Beltre, Rougned Odor and Jonathan Lucroy participated and then struggled or dealt with injuries at various points? No.

Daniels didn’t do anything to replace Jake Diekman, though there was ample warning that he wouldn’t be available for the first several months of the season. That seems more blame-worthy than Perez, who has allowed too many hits and had some really bad starts in late May/early June and late July/early August.

Perez leads the team in starts (30) and wins (12), for what that’s worth. He has 15 quality starts, which is second on the team, for what that’s worth.

Would a better Perez have helped the Rangers’ cause? Sure. A better Yu Darvish would have helped, too, as would not have trading him.

Blame will be doled out once the season is over. Perez won’t be high on my list. 

AL wild-card standings

Team

Games back

x-NY Yankees

+6

x-Minnesota

LA Angels

1.5

Texas

3.5

Seattle

4

Kansas City

4.5

Tampa Bay

5

Baltimore

5.5

Note: Top two teams, marked with x, would make the playoffs if season ended today.

Texas

010

000

020

3

10

0

Seattle

000

010

000

1

6

0

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields cf

4

1

2

0

0

1

.281

Choo rf

3

0

0

1

0

1

.260

Andrus ss

4

0

2

1

0

0

.302

Beltre dh

4

1

2

0

0

1

.312

Mazara lf

4

0

1

0

0

1

.255

Rua lf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.220

Gallo 1b

4

0

1

1

0

1

.212

Chirinos c

4

0

0

0

0

0

.260

Odor 2b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.209

Robinson 3b

2

0

0

0

0

2

.203

Gomez ph

1

0

1

0

0

0

.253

Middlebrooks pr-3b

0

1

0

0

0

0

.238

Totals 34

3

10

3

0

7

Seattle AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Segura ss

4

0

0

0

0

0

.295

Haniger rf

3

0

1

0

0

0

.277

Cano 2b

4

0

1

0

0

0

.283

Cruz dh

3

0

0

0

1

1

.285

Hannemann pr-dh

0

0

0

0

0

0

.250

Seager 3b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.251

Valencia 1b

1

0

0

0

1

0

.259

Alonso ph-1b

0

0

0

0

1

0

.264

Ruiz ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.229

Zunino c

4

0

1

0

0

1

.248

Heredia cf

4

1

2

0

0

0

.259

Gamel lf

3

0

1

1

0

1

.278

Totals 31

1

6

1

3

5

LOB—Texas 5, Seattle 7. 2B—Mazara (30), Odor (20), Gomez (21), Gamel (23). RBIs—Choo (73), Andrus (86), Gallo (76), Gamel (55). SB—DeShields (29). CS—Andrus (9). SF—Choo. Runners left in scoring position—Texas 3 (Mazara, Odor, Robinson); Seattle 3 (Segura, Seager, Gamel). RISP—Texas 2 for 7; Seattle 0 for 3. Runners moved up—Gallo. LIDP—Choo. GIDP—Seager. DP—Texas 1 (Gallo); Seattle 1 (Gamel, Valencia).

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Perez

6 1/3

4

1

1

1

4

98

4.70

Barnette, W 2-1

 2/3

2

0

0

1

0

24

4.58

Bush, H 10

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

6

3.49

Diekman, H 4

 2/3

0

0

0

1

1

12

3.38

Claudio, S 9-13

1

0

0

0

0

0

13

2.65

Seattle

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Leake

6 2/3

6

1

1

0

5

93

3.91

Rzepczynski

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

3

3.82

Vincent, L 3-3

1

3

2

2

0

1

15

2.87

Pazos

1

1

0

0

0

1

11

3.57

Inherited runners-scored—Diekman 1-0. HBP—Bush (Haniger). Umpires—Home, James Hoye; First, Jeff Kellogg; Second, Will Little; Third, Tim Timmons. T—2:54. A—17,251 (47,476).

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