Chirinos showing off power stroke of late

June 28th, 2017

CLEVELAND -- Rangers catcher has had a propensity for the long ball recently, and he proved that again Wednesday night against the Indians.

In the fifth inning of Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Tribe at Progressive Field, Chirinos connected for a solo shot to the center-field seats off for his 12th home run of the season. The homer came one night after he hit a game-tying shot off Mike Clevinger in Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Indians.

Chirinos has now homered in four consecutive games, and in seven of his past 10. In those 10 games, the right-handed-hitting catcher has added two doubles and 10 RBIs.

"I think how pitchers approach him, they know he's swinging a bat that has produced home runs," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of Chirinos. "He can clip you with damage."

Chirinos has appeared in only 32 games this season, but he has taken advantage of his playing time, hitting 12 homers with 25 RBIs and posting a .973 OPS in 101 at-bats. He is one big fly and 15 RBIs away from tying career highs, both of which came in 2014.

Banister credited Chirinos' success to being able to stay healthy and ready to play every day.

"He's healthy," Banister said. "Last year, with the wrist, the shoulder … the overall health of Robbie is the biggest difference. ... Also, I think the ability to get him some down time in between starts keeps him fresh."

With the success he has had since 2015 -- hitting 31 home runs in 481 at-bats -- Chirinos is forcing the hand of Banister. With All-Star-caliber as the starting catcher, the skipper has had to find ways to keep Chirinos' hot bat in the lineup.

"If you can get to the point where you're forcing the manager to put you in the lineup, [Chirinos is] kind of getting to that point," Banister said. "He's doing a lot of good things for us in the batter's box."

Banister admitted that having both Lucroy and Chirinos is a good problem to have, and said that he would like to keep Lucroy catching 60 percent of the time, with Chirinos filling in the other 40 percent.

"I think the opportunities to have Chirinos' bat in the lineup and still keep Lucroy's bat in the lineup is very appealing because they are different hitters at this stage," Banister said. "Lucroy still has the on-base element, and he can hit the ball to the gap, hit and run, pop a home run for you. Chirinos, he's shown up huge with the home-run-per-at-bat ratio."

Rangers beat

• For the second game in a row, outfielder was left out of the Rangers' lineup with back soreness. Banister said Gomez felt better Wednesday, but he wanted to give him an extra day to recover.

"He's got a little soreness in his side," Banister said. "Not anything that we're overly concerned about. More throwing motion than swinging the bat. It is more precautionary than anything."

Gomez did get a pinch-hit appearance late in Wednesday's game, replacing Joey Gallo in the lineup to face tough Indians lefty . Gomez struck out on five pitches.

• Banister also announced that right-hander will start Friday's series opener against the White Sox.