- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
No hitter in baseball so far this season has had keener eye than Joey Gallo, and that isn’t setting well with some in the Texas Rangers’ fan base.
It doesn’t matter that he leads MLB in walks and has reached in every game in which he has played this season. Gallo has only one measly home run as the No. 3 hitter a lineup that at times is having trouble scoring runs.
Gallo’s eighth-inning plate appearance Wednesday should blow a giant hole in all those whines.
He saw six pitches before taking a one-out walk, laying off two tight pitches to give the Rangers runners at first and second. The runner at first, Nick Solak, had also walked.
Garcia swatted a Mike Mayers pitch out to center field, and first baseman Nate Lowe followed with a solo shot to lift the Rangers to a series win against their division rival.
But the one who received the cowboy hat from his boss for player of the game was the walk machine.
“I’m so proud of Joey,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s totally on board with what we’re doing. It’s a huge thing for us as an offense when our best hitter is stubborn in the strike zone. It sends a message. I gave him the hat today because of it.”
Gallo walked three times, including one in the ninth inning with the bases loaded to pad the Rangers’ lead. He has walked 20 times this season, the main reason he has a .455 on-base percentage.
He entered the day in the top five in the American League in OBP and times on base.
Not only was a walk important at a time when the Angels were looking for a strikeout or a double play, it also helped Garcia get an idea from the on-deck circle of what he might see from Mayers.
“The walk from Joey was very important,” Garcia said. “I got to watch him throw a little more, and it helped me in that situation knowing he would have to throw me strikes. I took advantage of it.”
Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton hit solo homers off Mike Foltynewicz to build a 3-1 lead after seven innings. Gallo had walked to set up the Rangers’ first run, and he scored it on a sacrifice fly by catcher Jonah Heim.
The Rangers seemed helpless against Angels reliever Chris Rodriguez, who allowed one hit and struck out four, including Gallo, in 2 1/3 innings. But he walked the last batter he faced, Solak, and that brought Angels manager Joe Maddon from the dugout to get him.
Mayers entered and couldn’t retire Gallo.
Garcia made Mayers pay for a fastball down the middle with his third home run since being called up April 13. All three, the first three of his career, have given the Rangers a lead.
Gallo is in the midst of the longest homerless stretch of his career at 16 games. He and Woodward, though, aren’t complaining, and Woodward knows the homers are coming to come.
The walks are also doing damage.
“I’m not worried about it,” Woodward said. “The fact that he’s walking two or three times a game, allowing Nate and Adolis and whoever hits behind him to have a ton of base runners, eventually teams are going to stop walking him because they’re going to get tired of Nate Lowe and Adolis hitting homers and driving in runs.”