'What can't he do?': MLB HR leader robs one

García shows off defensive prowess, but Rangers are shut out in Seattle

May 28th, 2021

With a share of the Major League home run lead, is no stranger to going deep. But he can also bring back dingers, too.

The Rangers' center fielder robbed Seattle's Mitch Haniger of a home run on Thursday night, tracking the ball at the wall and then leaping to take away what would have been a solo shot to break a scoreless tie. García also had to contend with fans who were reaching over the wall.

García’s heroics only went so far though, as the Rangers eventually fell 5-0 at T-Mobile Park.

Tom Murphy and Jacob Nottingham hit back-to-back solo home runs at 407 and 391 feet, respectively, far out of the reach of García in center field in the third inning. Per Statcast, Haniger’s ball traveled a projected 395 feet.

Rangers starter Kolby Allard said his only thought when García robbed the homer was “What can’t this guy do?"

“He's been that guy for our ballclub all year long and he just continues to go out there and make big plays,” Allard added.

García has 16 home runs this season, tied with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for tops in the Majors. He had a quiet night at the plate by his standards, going 0-for-3 with a walk and halting his six-game hit streak.

García fired another stellar defensive play in the bottom of the seventh, throwing out the runner at home to end the Mariners’ three-run inning. It was the second time this season that García has thrown a Mariners baserunner out at the plate, the first coming in a 9-8 victory on May 8 in Arlington.

“He’s played well since he got called up,” said manager Chris Woodward. “Obviously he's been running good routes and running fly balls down and robbed the homer today. Those aren't easy plays. The diving play that he made [in the eighth inning], it just took a short hop. He's been playing great out there, honestly. He looks the part. The numbers speak for themselves and he's playing really well on both sides of the ball.”

When the Rangers optioned two elite defensive outfielders -- Leody Taveras and Eli White -- to Triple-A earlier in the season in favor of García and his improving at-bat quality, they weren’t totally sure what to expect.

Taveras entered the season as the Rangers’ No. 4-ranked prospect overall and the best outfield prospect, per MLB Pipeline. White graduated from prospect status after making his MLB debut in 2020, but looked to keep his spot on the big league squad this season.

Woodward said it would be incorrect to say the staff was surprised by how little defensive dropoff there was between the Taveras/White combo and García, but they weren’t totally sure how it would play out initially.

“We hadn't seen Adolis play center field consistently, on a daily basis,” Woodward said. “We knew he could do it. I had heard a lot of good things, obviously, from our staff down in Triple-A or at the alternate site last year. All the reports that we had heard before we acquired him said he was a good center fielder, so that's not surprising. But to see it in person, on a daily basis, it's been great.”

Woodward added that it was pretty frustrating that the Rangers’ offense couldn’t get anything going consistently throughout the game. It only notched six hits and one walk, but couldn't string any of those together for runs. This is the fifth time Texas has been shut out this season.

Seattle starter Chris Flexen pitched seven innings, allowing just three hits and striking out six.

“We started off, Willie [Calhoun] hit a rocket and then García hit a rocket to lead off the second, but after that it was about it. Honestly, we didn't really put any pressure on him or hit balls hard. He was pretty effective against us and if we're going to be a good offense, we've got to put together more pressure there throughout. That guy can't go seven scoreless on us.”