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The COVID-19 pandemic is still a thing, and because it is media isn’t allowed in MLB clubhouses just yet.
It’s all Zoom all the time, unless a reporter has some players’ phone numbers or a team’s media-relations staff can arrange phone interviews.
Until the access changes, many outlets are not sending writers to road games. TV and radio broadcasters aren’t traveling, either, though that has to do with COVID health and safety protocols.
That’s a long way of saying that there are certain trips I miss, and Minnesota is one of them.
On Monday, the Texas Rangers might have wished they hadn’t traveled either.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
The Rangers didn’t lose the game because of instant replay. They didn’t score until the eighth inning when they were already down 5-0, which makes it pretty difficult to win.
They also gave the Twins at least four runs with some defensive miscues by their three outfielders. That makes it pretty difficult to win, too.
But a successful Twins challenge on a play at the plate helped make a tough-luck loser of right-hander Dane Dunning, who had allowed nine runs in his past two starts but allowed three runs (two earned) in 5 2/3 innings.
The second run came, eventually, in the third inning.
Luis Arraez was attempting to score from first on a two-out double by Josh Donaldson, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s relay throw from shallow left field was high. Catcher Jose Trevino leaped to catch it as Arraez tumbled around the plate to avoid Trevino.
Arraez didn’t touch the plate initially, and was called out after Trevino essentially fell into Arraez. Though called out, Arraez crawled back to the plate and touched it.
The Twins challenged the call, and replays showed that Trevino never tagged Arraez. After a long review period, Arraez was called safe for a 2-0 lead and the Rangers had to come back to the field from the dugout.
“He made a heck of a play just catching that ball,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He was right next to him. He probably thought he tagged him.”
Dunning looked more like he did in his first three starts than the past two. The first run against him was unearned (more on that to come), the second came on an overturned call, and the third came when Kolby Allard allowed an inherited runner to score in the Twins’ three-run sixth.
The final two runs in that inning came as a fly ball to deep center field hit off Adolis Garcia’s wrist as he jumped in front of the wall. It’s a ball that should have been caught.
“Adolis will probably tell you he probably should have caught that,” Woodward said. “We just gave them too many runs.”
The Twins added an insurance run in the eighth as left fielder David Dahl couldn’t keep a Jorge Polanco liner from reaching the wall. It went for a double and allowed rookie Alex Kirilloff to score from first to make it 6-3.
The Rangers had just scored three in the eighth, two on Garcia’s sixth homer of the season. They scored two more in the ninth on Joey Gallo’s third homer of the season.
“After the fact, you lose 6-5 and realize you probably should have won the game if we could have cleaned things up a little bit,” Woodward said.
Part of the reason Gallo won the American League Gold Glove last season was because of his strong throwing arm. Runners know about it, and there are many times when they simply don’t take the chance of him throwing them out.
Maybe Kirilloff didn’t see the scouting report in the second inning, when he tagged at second base on a fly ball to right field and took off for third. Gallo came up throwing, and his throw was too high for third baseman Charlie Culberson.
The ball bounced off Dunning, who was backing up, and Kirilloff was able to score.
Woodward said an accurate throw would have gotten Kirilloff and ended the inning.
“I’m not going to be reactive and say that the guy with the best arm in the league has a chance to throw a guy out and ask him to throw to second because he might throw it away,” Woodward said. “That would be kind of silly to me.”
Dunning retired the next batter, Max Kepler, to end the inning.
Concern for Kohei
Kohei Arihara won’t pitch the next time through the rotation and he could land on the injured list because of soreness around the callous on his right middle finger.
The right-hander will play catch Tuesday, the last day the Rangers can make the IL move retroactive by three days. If an anti-inflammatory into the finger is doing its job, Arihara will miss only one start. If not, he will land on the IL.
Left-hander Hyeon-Jong Yang will start Wednesday in Arihara’s spot.
“We didn’t want him to throw for a few days after getting that shot in his finger,” Woodward said. “If it feels good, then potentially we’ll probably start him on Saturday.”
Arihara has lasted two innings and 2 2/3 innings in his past two starts, allowing a combined 11 runs. The Rangers suspected that Arihara might be fatigued after working on four days’ rest, something that is new to him after spending his entire career pitching once a week in Nippon Professional Baseball.
Yang is coming off 4 1/3 scoreless, one-hit innings Friday in relief of Arihara. Yang allowed two runs in 4 1/3 innings April 26 in his MLB debut.