Jon Daniels did more than just gift us Rafael Montero (the coolest closer in the league) to turn the season around; he got us a badass new batter too. Derek Dietrich first entered the lineup on Wednesday and immediately won us three straight games. Let’s break it down…
Dietrich’s ability to take an HBP is one of the things he’s been known for in the past, as he led the MLB with 24 in 2016. He knows the value of a free base and he stands firm like a man when a pitch drifts his way. This came out big in his first game with us.
Down 4-0 in the 6th and us getting dominated by Seattle all game, Dietrich takes a two out HBP that he easily could’ve avoided. That free base turns into a stolen base when he catches Seattle in a shift, which turns into a 2 out run.
A comeback win ensues and we take the series against the Mariners.
Next game was at Colorado on Friday night. Pinch hitting in the top of the 8th with a 2-2 tie, he takes one for the team again. You could hear the ball crack against his bone it was so loud.
By getting on first base, he opened the infield for a Choo bouncer to get through. A couple batters later, bam we got a game winning GIDP RBI.
It doesn’t always have to be scrappy; he can get runs the old fashioned way too. Case in point the very next night in Colorado. Tenuous 3-2 lead in the top of the 8th. Two outs, two runners on and the first pitch he sees turns into a Dietrich Dong.
Boooom! Game iced. Rangers are ABOVE 500 for the first time since Opening Day.
Dietrich was playing regularly for the Marlins from 2015-2017, the first two seasons of which were really good. When Dee Gordon got suspended for steroids, he became the regular 2B and hit .279 and an OPS+ of 121.
He was helping the Marlins mash in a lineup that also included Stanton, Yelich, Realmuto, and Ozuna. Once the fire sale started, his play slipped and he eventually started bouncing around to the Reds and Cubs minor league systems.
He got released last week and JD snapped him up within a day. What a pickup it’s been so far. Not only is he winning games for us, but he’s also put trash ass Odor on the bench so that dude can stop losing games for us.
What an August for a rebuilding team huh?