Gallo's patience may buy favorable calls
SEATTLE -- Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo was out of the lineup on Sunday after going 4-for-21 with 12 strikeouts in the first six games on the road trip.
Five of the 12 strikeouts were looking, and manager Chris Woodward said that’s something Gallo will have to deal with while working hard on not swinging at bad pitches. Gallo built a reputation for being a free swinger in the past few years, and umpires are unlikely to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“I told him the first time I met him, ‘You’re going to have periods this year where you stick to [a more patient approach], but they expect it to be the old Joey and call strikes on you.’” Woodward said. “They are human. They are going on reputation, so he has to re-establish his reputation. Sometimes, there is a little bit of frustration, but he has to stay stubborn. He’ll gain a reputation in a good way eventually if he stays with it.”
Over the past two years, Gallo has been called out looking on strikes 64 times, which is the third most in the Majors. More than a few of those were borderline calls. A case in point was Wednesday’s game in Oakland. Gallo was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts -- all on called third strikes.
“The last one was a strike, so I’m not going to blow the umpires up. But the other two were debatable, to use the term lightly,” Woodward said. “I told him he was going to have games like that because it’s out of his control. You see it with guys like Shin-Soo Choo and other guys who have a reputation of not swinging at balls. They tend not to get strikes called.”
Woodward doesn’t want Gallo to abandon his approach, because there are tangible signs of progress. According to Statcast, Gallo has swung at 12.1 percent of pitches outside the zone so far this season. That is down from 19.3 percent last year.
Gallo's batting average on pitches in the strike zone is .288 going into Sunday. That is up from .244 last season. So Woodward doesn’t want a tough week to get to Gallo so that he abandons his efforts to be more disciplined at the plate.
“If you introduce new processes to players, from a mental standpoint, there is going to be a little bit of burnout at times,” Woodward said. “You’ve got to get that recharged with a second wind. I know Joey is always grinding -- but when he is so dedicated to something, staying in the strike zone, really hammering from a mental standpoint of being stubborn, it does wear you down.”
Nadel benefit concert set for Thursday
Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel’s eighth annual Birthday Benefit Concert is set for 8 p.m. CT on Thursday at the Kessler Theater in Dallas. The headliners will be Oklahoma-native Parker Millsap and longtime Kessler favorite Daphne Willis, the San Antonio native specializing in indie pop music.
The Eric Nadel Birthday Benefit provides operating funds for Focus on Teens, a nonprofit that supports over 5,000 homeless kids attending schools in the Dallas Independent School District. In addition to the concert by Millsap and Willis, there will be a special live and silent auction with unique memorabilia and dining and baseball experiences not available elsewhere.
Tickets are available on prekindle.com.
• Asdrúbal Cabrera was given a third straight day off while dealing with tightness in his left calf. The Rangers aren’t considering putting him on the injured list, and they expect him to be ready on Tuesday against the Pirates.
“He could play today if we had to, but with a day game, why risk it?” Woodward said. “We have a day off tomorrow. Moving forward it made sense not to push it.”
• Pitcher Drew Smyly, on the 10-day injured list because of left arm fatigue, threw long toss on Sunday and is hoping to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday or Wednesday in Arlington. If that goes well, Smyly could come off the IL and start next Sunday against the Blue Jays.
• Reliever Brett Martin turned 24 on Sunday.