Monday Newsletter time: Garcia unlocks his swing, delivers two homers in Rangers’ win
(AP photo/LM Otero)
ARLINGTON — Adolis Garcia was an All-Star last season after a terrific first half, one that made him a favorite to be American League Rookie of the Year.
His second half wasn’t nearly as good, and it dropped him to fourth in the rookie balloting.
The Texas Rangers believed then, and still do, that a more patient Garcia could be more like the player he was in the first half.
And, by golly, he has tried.
Success, though, was missing. Frustration, it now seems, was high.
So, Garcia was given the day off Saturday and given an audience with manager Chris Woodward and Rangers hitting coaches. Garcia was reminded how good he can be, that he’s his best when he’s running wild and free, and the decision was made that he would be more aggressive at the plate.
Some stallions just can’t be tamed.
Garcia swatted two home runs Sunday and matched his career-high with five RBIs as the Rangers avoided a three-game sweep to the Boston Red Sox with a 7-1 victory.
Kole Calhoun also hit two home runs, both solo shots, and Martin Perez allowed one run in six innings for his fifth straight quality start.
Marcus Semien had a double to snap and 0-for-27 skid.
The Rangers need him to get going, for sure, but they need Garcia, too. They may have unlocked his swing by unlocking his mind.
“We talked, and we wanted to make sure we were all on the same page and program that I was doing last year,” Garcia said. “That’s what helped me. I got away from being aggressive and was trying to see more pitches, but I went back to being more aggressive and taking advantage of the pitches I was used to hitting.”
He came up big again late, as he did last season. His first homer was a three-run shot in the sixth that snapped a 1-1 tie, and his two-run homer in the eighth put the game away.
He had some swagger, too, telling Perez before his sixth-inning at-bat that he was going to hit a home run. After hitting it, he threw down his bat and was pointing at Perez as he started his home-run trot.
“I had told him I was going to win this game,” Garcia said.
Calhoun, who was teammates with Mike Trout, knows what a dynamic player looks like. Garcia won’t be as good as Trout, but he could be an All-Star again if he taps into his abilities.
“He’s definitely a fun player to watch and definitely a talented, talented ballplayer — one of the most talented I’ve played with, for sure,” Calhoun said. “It’s important that he knows that. He can carry this team single-handedly for an extended amount of time. For him to be as humble as he is and work as hard as he does and have that kind of talent, that’s the makeup of a special, special player, like a generational-type player.”
The Rangers played and pitched poorly Friday and Saturday in losing twice by a combined 14 runs.
They needed someone to stop the batting practice they had been throwing to Red Sox hitters.
Perez continued his hot stretch, surviving some trouble in the first inning. He allowed a run in the fifth, which Calhoun countered with his first home run, and deservedly picked up his second straight win.
Aside from getting out of the first-inning jam, his ability to not try to do too much against his told him was the key.
“I was trying to stay focused,” Perez said. “When you have that motivation, you try to be too perfect. Just keep doing what you’ve been doing. You’ve been having good results, so you don’t have to change.”
He struck out a season-high seven batters, including Xander Bogaerts and Trevor Story to wiggle out of the first. Perez dropped his ERA from 2.10 to 2.01.
Good stuff last week at Rangers Today, including the first in a top-50 series planned by T.R. Sullivan for his memoirs, and more good stuff is coming this week. Included will be our first road trip after covering the season-opener in Toronto. It won’t be the full trip, as the Oakland series coincides with the last day of school. I missed the last day of school once. Once. Here’s the latest, in case you missed it.
T.R.’s Memoirs: 50 most influential folks in Rangers history
The Sunday Read: Marcus Semien’s (and the Rangers’) hitting woes
Friday on the Farm: Luisangel Acuna seeking own identity
Like me on an airplane. Enjoy. See you Tuesday.
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— Fred Schultz (@FredSchultz35) May 12, 2022
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