PHILADELPHIA — Stephen Strasburg threw a bullpen session at Citizens Bank Park prior to Monday night’s game against the Phillies, one week after he was placed on the disabled list with soreness in his right elbow.
Every player is different. Hamilton requires his own special considerations, and to be fair, the Rangers aren’t the only team in baseball that had an interest in giving Gomez a shot once the Houston Astros dumped him. If there’s one thing Carlos Gomez isn’t short on, it’s energy, which a roster can lack around this time in the year. Yet it’s hard to see Gomez’s promise. Every single indicator is down on his skills.
On the simplest possible level, Gomez does fit. The Rangers lost Shin-Soo Choo to injury, and just a few years ago, Gomez was genuinely one of the best all-around players in the game. He’s still just 30, so it’s reasonable to believe he’s not washed up. The Rangers paid virtually no acquisition price, and there’s also no long-term commitment. They’re taking a shot on a player who seems to be liked by his teammates.
But it’s impossible to get around the numbers. In fact, those numbers almost couldn’t be any more negative.
To whatever extent you want to believe in the upside — the Rangers had to see something — it’s balanced out by the fact that the Astros, a division rival fighting for a playoff spot, gave up on Gomez. Whatever the Rangers see, the Astros didn’t. And given what they had paid in trading for Gomez, the Astros had something to lose. They were invested in getting Gomez right. They couldn’t, and the plot below is fairly damning. Let’s dig in.
First, let’s set the stage for Kansas City: Beat the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, and the Royals are three games behind Baltimore for the second wild-card spot and just four games behind Boston for the first one. Lose, and not only do those numbers move to four games and six games, respectively, but the Royals fall behind three other teams in the wild-card race. A team in seventh place in the standings instead of tied for fourth, with 42 games left in the season, has entered the perilous it’s not the distance, it’s the traffic phase of chasing. It’s clearly not a win-or-go-home situation, but it’s a very important game for the defending World Series champions. In such a situation, no chances to win the game should be squandered.
In the top of the second inning of a scoreless game, Salvador Perez got the visitors on the scoreboard with a lead-off solo home run, followed by a single by Alex Gordon and a walk to Alcides Escobar. That brought Raul Mondesi to the plate, who perhaps is best known for making his major league debut during the 2015 World Series. Yost predictably ordered Mondesi to bunt, and he did, successfully advancing Gordon and Escobar.