Three more games left in the Yankees’ regular season, and they’ll play them in Globe Life Park to close out the stadium.
Their Story, Past and Future
At 76-83, the Rangers will finish with the eighth-best record in the American League, smack dab in the middle of things. That just about defines their season. They were mediocre, a strong first half that belied the team’s overall talent level. Texas wasn’t a serious playoff contender.
The Rangers go into the offseason at a crossroads. Their minor league system ranked No. 27 in Baseball America’s post-deadline list, and their big league club could use a boost. They have two intriguing pitchers — Mike Minor and Lance Lynn — who could fetch something in a trade.
But a teardown is unlikely. The team is moving into a new ballpark after this series and Texas might look to play in free agency rather than take a step back. The Rangers are a wild card this offseason as they could go any direction.
C Jeff Mathis, RF Nomar Mazara, DH Hunter Pence, OF Joey Gallo and INF Logan Forsythe are all likely out for this series. On the pitching side, Texas will miss Jesses Biddle and Chavez, Taylor Hearn and Nate Jones.
Spotlight: Globe Life Park I
When the 27th out is recorded on Sunday, the first Globe Life Park will cease operations as the home of the Texas Rangers. In about six months, the team will open the 2020 season at a new place, also named Globe Life Park.
The reason why they’re abandoning their beautiful home after 25 years is simple: The Texas heat. Summer games can be unbearable in the Arlington air, and presents a challenge for the Rangers. The new park will have a retractable roof and appears to be a mix between Houston’s Minute Maid Park and the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium in its renderings.
The Rangers, in this way, might be getting out in front of the future of baseball, to be played at some point exclusively in arenas with a roof rather than outdoors. Climate change is real. Whether from rain, natural disaster or unbearable heat, it can and will affect baseball in the coming decades, as it already has.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mourn for the Ballpark at Arlington. It was a fantastic structure, a beauty and one that stands out among modern parks. The new park might have been necessary, yet renderings look like other structures, not something entirely its own.
- Shin-Soo Choo, RF (.264/.369/.451, 110 wRC+)
- Elvis Andrus, SS (.274/.311/.395, 76 wRC+)
- Willie Calhoun, LF (.273/.328/.539, 115 wRC+)
- Danny Santana, 3B (.284/.322/.534, 110 wRC+)
- Rougned Odor, 2B (.204/.280/.434, 75 wRC+)
- Nick Solak, DH (.303/.402/.505, 132 wRC+)
- Ronald Guzmán, 1B (.217/.304/.418, 79 wRC+)
- Jose Trevino, C (.252/.268/.374, 55 wRC+)
- Delino DeShields, CF (.246/.324/.344, 71 wRC+)
The Rangers’ bench includes catcher Tim Federowicz (33 wRC+), INF Isiah Kiner-Falefa (55 wRC+) and OF Scott Heineman (34 wRC+). As mentioned before, Mathis, Forsythe, Gallo and Mazara are either ruled out or unlikely to play.
I’m grouping these two games together because both appear to be bullpen games in the making. Mike Minor, the Rangers’ ace, pitched yesterday (and caused a stir) while Lance Lynn goes Sunday. The team’s other three starters either contributed to Tuesday’s game (Ariel Jurado and Kolby Allard) while Brock Burke was shelled in Oakland last weekend.
Palumbo is a left-hander who has all of six games of MLB experience and a 9.22 ERA. A starter in the Minor Leagues, he’s pitched all of three innings this month and last pitched a single inning Saturday.
Lance Lynn leads baseball in wild pitches (18), but beyond that trivia, he’s had a strong season. He sports a 3.76 ERA (3.15 FIP) over 32 starts and 201 innings. He hadn’t eclipsed 200 innings since he missed the 2016 season with Tommy John surgery.
I detailed his breakthrough year at age-32 and why the Yankees let him go earlier this month. Since then, he was defeated by the Yankees before facing three more playoff teams (Rays, Astros and A’s). In those three starts, he struck out 27 over 19 1/3 innings and allowed just 18 hits and five walks.
Lynn’s a fastball-first guy. And a fastball second, third and fourth. He thrives off his mix of fastballs and will be looking to put an exclamation point on his season and the Rangers’ time at Globe Life Park I. He also might be facing a skeleton lineup Sunday with the Yankees just about locked into their playoff spot.
The Rangers needed just one out from their bullpen Thursday as Mike Minor reached 200 strikeouts for the season by recording his ninth K on out No. 26. Here’s who Texas has in the pen.
RHP: Emmanuel Clase, Luke Farrell, Shawn Kelley, Jose Leclerc, Ian Gibaut, Jonathan Hernandez, Rafael Montero, Adrian Sampson, Phillips Valdez, Edinson Volquez
LHP: Brett Martin, Yohander Mendez, Jeffrey Springs
I got into some of their starters above, but Volquez might make his final career start this weekend. He’s an opener at this point in his career and has said he will retire after the season.
As for high leverage guys, Clase is their wunderkind, a 22-year-old who throws 100-mph cutters and has a ton of potential. Kelley is a veteran closer for the team while Leclerc and Montero could each see late-inning spots.