The last time the Seattle Mariners saw Adolis Garcia, he went 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs against them in host Texas’ 10-2 victory on May 9.
The Rangers’ rookie outfielder has hardly slowed down since.
Garcia is tied with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead with 16 home runs, as the Rangers open a four-game series Thursday in Seattle.
“He’s been carrying us every day,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “This guy’s our best hitter right now. And he’s just having quality at-bats, and also producing at a really high level and smashing balls all over the place.”
The 28-year-old from Cuba hit a solo homer Wednesday, as the Rangers nearly rallied from an eight-run deficit in a 9-8 loss to the host Los Angeles Angels.
It was the 11th home run of May for Garcia, breaking the Rangers’ rookie record for most in a month, set when Dave Hostetler went deep 10 times in June 1982. His 16 homers are tied with Pete Incaviglia (1986) for the most by a Texas rookie before the All-Star break.
Not bad for a guy who was designated for assignment Feb. 10, re-signed to a minor league deal two days later and wasn’t recalled from the team’s alternate training site until April 13.
“He’s always had the power. In his minor league career, I think he’s hit 30 homers a couple times,” Woodward said. “That’s always been something he’s possessed, but the lack of consistent at-bats, quality at-bats, I think, was the one thing that was missing — but now you’re starting to see (it).”
Garcia began his stateside career in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization, where he was a teammate of fellow Cuban Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay’s postseason hero last season.
“I want to, hopefully, be able to do the things that (Arozarena) is doing here in the big leagues and to be able to prove that I can be the same player that he is, as well,” Garcia said when he was recalled last month.
The Rangers are scheduled to send left-hander Kolby Allard (1-0, 3.15) to the mound Thursday for his first start of the 2021 season. Allard is 1-2 with a 10.38 ERA in four career appearances against Seattle, including three starts.
The Mariners are set to counter with right-hander Chris Flexen (4-2, 5.09). Flexen is 2-0 with a 5.25 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers, beating them 6-4 on May 7 despite allowing four runs on 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Seattle snapped a six-game losing streak by taking two of three games at American League West-leading Oakland.
“When we came into the season I think everybody expected that we would be a little streaky — you’re gonna have some really good stretches, you’re gonna have some other stretches where it’s going to be a struggle,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “And that’s what we’ve seen so far this year. So I’m happy with (the) mood, the tone in our clubhouse. Guys are showing up every day, they’re getting their work in, they’re asking good questions, they’re just focused on getting better.”
–Field Level Media