ARLINGTON -- If Cole Hamels was trying to make a statement as to who might be the best starting pitcher available by trade this summer, he delivered a strong one on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.Hamels did so against a team that has both a powerful lineup and a
ARLINGTON -- If Cole Hamels was trying to make a statement as to who might be the best starting pitcher available by trade this summer, he delivered a strong one on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park.
Hamels did so against a team that has both a powerful lineup and a potential need for starting pitching at some point this season, holding the Yankees to two runs on four hits through seven innings in pitching the Rangers to a 6-4 victory.
Home runs by Jurickson Profar and Ronald Guzman helped Hamels win his second straight start. He is 3-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 starts this season and 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last five. If he keeps this up, he is going to be a desirable target for teams looking to upgrade their rotation this summer if the Rangers choose to go in that direction.
"It's May," Hamels said. "There's a lot of baseball, a lot of things could happen. I have a job to do, and it's to win here. This is where I've wanted to be, I've got a lot of young guys that definitely need me to try to be more of a leader and teach them kind of the facets of the game, and that's kind of what my focus is right now, to win for these guys and win for this team and this organization and these fans."
Hamels was scratched from his last start because of stiffness in his neck, but he looked strong physically through 100 pitches (63 for strikes). He walked two and struck out seven; the two runs he allowed scored on solo home runs by Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar.
"He was fresh, felt good," manager Jeff Banister said. "Probably the best mix of pitches we have seen from him all year. Kept the hitters off-balance. They didn't get any clean swings other than a couple of home runs. Solid game all around."
Hamels beat right-hander Domingo German, who allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings.
"I thought [Hamels] was really good," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "The cut fastball was a real weapon for him. He threw some good changeups, and we knew we had a tough opponent tonight. I'm excited about the way the guys continued to compete, but I thought Cole pitched very well against us."
German is the Yankees' fifth starter, at least while Jordan Montgomery is on the disabled list, and he now has a 5.59 ERA in three starts and five relief appearances. That may be reason No. 1 why the Yankees will be looking for pitching this summer as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.
"I've been hearing all that stuff, and I don't even think that's very much on our radar right now," Boone said. "I don't read into that or look into that. I just look at it as, a good pitcher was able to beat us tonight."
The Rangers have not declared themselves to be "sellers." General manager Jon Daniels said the goal is to improve the team any way possible for now, next year and the foreseeable future. The Rangers have a $20 million option on Hamels for next season. Otherwise they pay a $6 million buyout and he becomes a free agent. He could be a valuable trade chip, but he could also be the right pitcher to build next year's rotation around as well.
Hamels knows this part of the business as well as anybody. The Rangers acquired him from Philadelphia on July 31, 2015, when the Phillies were headed into a major rebuilding project. That could be where the Rangers are headed as well before the summer is over.
"I'm just here to play and trying to remain healthy and maintain what I can do out on the field, and just getting good results and enjoying playing the game of baseball," Hamels said. "All of the decisions are not up to me. The only decision I have in my hand is to throw the baseball and get guys out. So I think that's kind of what I've been able to learn from the previous experiences."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Rangers scored two runs in the bottom of the second off German without the ball leaving the infield. Robinson Chirinos was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, went to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third as Ronald Guzman grounded out. German struck out Ryan Rua, but the ball got past catcher Gary Sanchez, allowing Chirinos to score. Rua reached first on the play. German walked Shin-Soo Choo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Nomar Mazara grounded out to first to bring home Rua.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Second baseman Rougned Odor showed some serious vertical leaping ability in the seventh, when he went high to snag Christopher Austin's soft line drive for the first out of the inning.
HE SAID IT
"Yeah, I feel like my old self. I'm hitting the ball well, I think. I hit a lot of balls hard, and they've been outs, but it's a long season. I'm going to keep swinging it, keep working hard every day and progress." -- Profar
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Yankees won a replay challenge in the fifth. Odor, after reaching on a one-out walk, was ruled safe on a pickoff attempt by A.J. Cole. But Boone challenged the call, and it was overturned. After viewing all relevant angles, the replay official definitively determined that first baseman Neil Walker tagged Odor prior to Odor touching first base. One inning later, Boone was thrown out of the game by home-plate umpire Pat Hoberg for arguing balls and strikes.
After getting a partial night off on Tuesday, used off the bench late in the game, Delino DeShields is expected to be back in the starting lineup when the Rangers face Yankees left-hander Carsten Sabathia at 6:05 p.m. CT Wednesday at Globe Life Park. DeShields is 9-for-29 against left-handers this season and 3-for-7 in his career against Sabathia. Right-hander Doug Fister pitches for the Rangers.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.