Rangers Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran pay dividends

ARLINGTON – Before Tony Beasley can provide the go-ahead, he should present the intense mild of the Globe Life Field to his latest outfielders-in-training.

You see, each baseball stadium has its personal really feel, even indoor although. In Globe Life, there’s a line of lights above the highest seat. They mild up the sector. Sometimes, and for a second, they will also be the background of a tough hit line drive. For a nook outfielder, meaning one second the ball is in sight, the following second it is gone.

“Well, when you lose it, don’t panic,” Beasley, Rangers third base coach and outfield professional, recounted his two latest tasks. “Stay on track, watch where it goes, get under the lights and wait for it to come out. It will come out. You just have to believe it. ”

Believe with out seeing: one thing the Rangers are able to do, too, in relation to their two hottest rookies.

For the primary time this season, Rangers launched the lineup with Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran within the lineup in Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

From a group perspective, it was Rangers’ tenth straight win over Philadelphia since April 2014. It additionally gave Rangers a season sweep over the Phillies, marking the third time in franchise historical past they’ve misplaced 4-0 at an opponent in a 12 months.

Jon Gray threw 5.2 innings and allowed two rounds, dropping his ERA to a season low of 4.18. Offensively, Rangers had twice as many strikeouts (14) than hits (seven), however nonetheless discovered a option to rating sufficient to safe the win.

Rangers are actually 33-35, as soon as once more pushing on the .500 threshold after two wins over a group that had simply three losses this month earlier than coming to Texas.

“By [Game] 162, we are trying to be a champion version of who we have here,” stated Rangers supervisor Chris Woodward.

That consists of Smith and Durán, two rookies who pressured their method into the energetic roster, even after a flurry of roster strikes on Tuesday. To get each within the lineup, Rangers additionally needed to be inventive, producing outfield work for each.

This shouldn’t be the primary time Smith has performed on the left. Well, kind of.

“Does spring training in the backyard count?” Smith stated Tuesday with fun. “I played one game on the left, so other than hitting practice, no.”

However, with Smith’s athleticism – seen early in Wednesday’s recreation when he scored the primary purpose within the singles by Brad Miller – it was a transition Rangers thought Smith might make. Additionally, with $500 million invested within the two pillars in Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, it is sensible for Rangers to attempt to discover alternate options to the athletic midfield infielder prospect.

“Everyone is an outfielder,” Beasley stated.

That transformation is one thing Beasley did for Rangers earlier than. Take for instance midfielder Eli White, who had two of one of the best defensive video games in your entire league this season earlier than breaking his wrist in Chicago.

For the transition to work, Beasley had this to say about gamers having the correct mentality. In his phrases, they needed to be “gangsters” or “Gs,” as he referred to as them. Basically, it means having a assured mentality and never being afraid of the ball being hit on the pitch.

“Proud of not letting the ball hit the grass,” stated Beasley. “Nothing hits the ground. They hear that from me all the time, every day: ‘Nothing hits the ground. Be G today.’”

With Smith making his first start on left court, Beasley was willing to give him the pass if his inner G didn’t pop up soon. But as Smith points out elsewhere, he’s a quick learner.

In the top 7, Phillies leadoff batsman Kyle Schwarber hit a sinking line drive into the corner of the left field – one that may have flown through the background lights at Globe Life. Smith, quickly, hightailed and hit a backhand in a full sprint.

Durán has less on-pitch experience than Smith, but Beasley has also given Woodward the green light for Durán to play off the pitch whenever needed. That day could come, but for now he is proving to be a good defensive option in third. In one game Thursday, he fielded a helicopter high from Alec Bohm which landed in the third base bag and made a strange bounce. He fielded it and then tossed a 93.3 mph fast ball – the fourth-fastest infield throw of the season, according to MLB Pipeline – across the diamond to get out.

Both games – Smith’s line drive and Durán’s throw – impressed Woodward.

“Both people work,” said Woodward, “and that’s where we put our trust in their work to know we can put them in that situation.”

Playing Smith and Durán in the same lineup, let alone on third and left court, less than a year after they were acquired for Joey Gallo is something Woodward said he couldn’t imagine when the trade took place. But the more he saw the two of them, the more he began to believe.

In only a few weeks, it is simple to see why.

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