DETROIT -- On Monday night, manager Chris Woodward shook Joey Gallo’s hand after a rough night at the ballpark in which the Rangers fell, 14-0, in the opener of a four-game set at Comerica Park, extending the team’s losing streak to four games coming out of the All-Star break.
Woodward said it meant a lot to him that Gallo, currently the longest tenured Ranger on the roster, continues to play his hardest every day for the organization, even when things aren’t going well.
“Our right fielder threw three guys out,” Woodward explained. “He's playing the game as if it were a tie game, when we're down by 10. That speaks volumes to me. That's the kind of guy you want to build around. It’s just really impressive.”
Woodward and the rest of the club aren’t blind or deaf to the conversations that surround Gallo at this time every year. But Woodward understands the business.
“I don't think anybody wants to trade Joey Gallo,” Woodward said. “I don't think it's something that's like, 'We can't wait to do it.' But this guy brings it every day. He plays the game the right way every day. On days like today, he still fought, he still battled. This guy is one of our best guys.
“As far as Joey goes, I know how the game works. I'm not saying that we have to keep him or that we shouldn’t or anything like that. But he is a type of player that fits our mold and what we want the future to look like. When we're down, 14-0, it says a lot about you as a player and as a man, the way you play the game.”
After being swept in three games against the Blue Jays to start the second half of the season, the Rangers were hoping to rebound against the Tigers. The exact opposite happened.
“We got our butts kicked tonight again,” Woodward said. “I'm embarrassed, I think the entire team should be embarrassed to get shut out again. We need to be better. Overall, I'm frustrated. We’ve got to do a better job, have better bats."
Since the break, the Rangers have been outscored, 39-2, and shut out three times. The Rangers haven’t scored a run in 23 straight innings, including a shutout in both ends of a seven-inning doubleheader.
All-Star ace Kyle Gibson uncharacteristically struggled against Detroit for the second game in a row. In his final start before the break, Gibson gave up five runs on eight hits in a loss at Globe Life Field. On Monday night, he went just five-plus innings and surrendered eight runs on 10 hits in another loss.
Woodward said he could point to the upcoming Trade Deadline as being something that has bothered Gibson in his recent starts. He went into the break with the second-lowest ERA in the American League and his name has been floated in many rumored deals.
“Gibby didn’t have his best stuff,” Woodward said. “He’s allowed to have a bad day. Maybe [the Deadline is] weighing on him a little bit. He gives so much to his team, to his family, to everybody around. He's been one of the best pitchers in baseball and then something like tonight happens. I just know that it has to be affecting him a little bit. Hopefully, he goes back out in four or five more days and can right the ship.”
The night was highlighted by a seven-run sixth inning from Detroit that blew open the matchup.
The Texas offense totaled just four hits and one extra-base hit, a double from David Dahl in the top of the fifth inning. The Tigers, on the other hand, knocked around the Rangers’ pitching staff for 19 hits.
Woodward emphasized that while Gallo is giving everything he has and Gibson has been solid as a rock on the mound for most of the season, he’s not seen that same fight on the faces of his team since they came back from the break.
The skipper has long since stopped using the Rangers’ youth as an excuse and focused on the adaptability they must have to play in the big leagues.
“They are competing, I’ll give them that,” Woodward said. “But we got to do something different. We have too many easy outs and that can't be the case on a big league team, especially when you're struggling. That’s kind of what I say, we're not fighting. It’s like sometimes we're not making an adjustment to what teams are doing to us.”