Joey Gallo is headed to the IL with a left oblique strain. With the Texas Rangers playing inspiring ball, now is a terrible time for their best player to be lost.
News broke moments ago that Joey Gallo has hit the IL with a left oblique strain. He was in noticeable pain during a couple of at-bats yesterday, cringing and twisting between swings as if something was off. Something was in fact off. The Texas Rangers have once again recalled CF Delino DeShields, but that is far from the storyline here.
Oblique injuries are nothing to be taken lightly. They do not generally fall under the “season-ending” category; however, they often come with 1-2 months of shutdown and recovery. New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge has been out with a left oblique strain since April 20th. He is making progress in his rehab, though New York still doesn’t have a timeline for his return.
Gallo is of course a separate case, but it seems likely that Texas will have to play without their best player for a decent while.
The timing could not be worse for the team or the player. Gallo is currently having an MVP-type season. He ranks 2nd in the American League with 17 home runs, 2nd with a .421 OBP, 1st with a .653 SLG and 1st with a 1.074 OPS. He launched a 454-foot grand slam on Friday night, the first of his career, to give his team a 6-2 lead over the Royals in the 6th inning. The next day, he crushed one over the right-center field bullpen to get Texas on the board and jumpstart a 4-run 4th inning.
The 25-year-old has been the Rangers’ primary thumper and arguably their most consistent bat. He’s scored 41 runs and driven in 41 runs this season, each the most on the club. Thus, the Rangers are going to have quite the task on their hands trying to make up for lost production.
Hunter Pence will have to keep pummeling the baseball and Nomar Mazara will have to find some consistency. Elvis Andrus has dropped off some as of late, plus Asdrubal Cabrera seems to only be able to hit at home. With the bottom of the lineup performing poorly for much of the year, the onus falls on the men towards the top while Gallo is absent.
The Texas Rangers are 29-27, in sole possession of second place in the AL West. If the playoffs began today, they would be in as the second Wild Card. June just began, so there’s no sense believing the Rangers will inevitably make the postseason. That said, they’re in a rather impressive spot to this point.
If Texas holds their ground while Joey Gallo is on the sidelines, then it may be time to consider them a legitimate playoff contender. However, there’s also the possibility that they suffer a considerable drop-off during that time.
Losing him in July would be terrible as well, but June 1st was a bad time considering the team’s momentum. Worst case scenario, Gallo misses June and July. Best case scenario, this is a true 10-day IL stint and Gallo is back in the lineup in a week and a half.
Personally, there’s not an at-bat I’d hate to miss more than a Joey Gallo one — and that’s speaking across all of Major League Baseball. His game is polarizing, unique and overpowering. Every bout without him is a huge loss to the Texas Rangers and their fans. Though, baseball is far from a one-man show, so don’t be surprised if the Rangers maintain a good pace.