Joey Gallo’s Texas Rangers are the team to beat in the MLB The Show Players League.
That’s not exactly a revelation. Gallo remains the only team with an unblemished record after five nights of action, with an 8-0 mark. The slugger leads the league with 57 runs scored compared to 15 allowed. Nobody in the Players League has mashed more dingers than his 24.
But forget the numbers for a second. Enter Gallo’s victory Tuesday night over Eduardo Rodriguez and the Boston Red Sox, the only team with just one win or fewer after eight games, as proof that his Rangers are going to be a tough out for anyone.
With ace Corey Kluber on the hill and one out to start the matchup, the wheels came off. Each of the next six batters reached base, with Rodriguez knocking four doubles and a two-run blast to right-center field to take a commanding 6-0 lead.
“That’s it for me, guys,” Gallo told the viewers of his Twitch stream after surrendering the moon shot to batter Mitch Moreland.
That’s where the 2019 American League All-Star was wrong. Forced to turn the game over to his bullpen after getting just one out, Gallo locked down on the mound with 2⅔ of shutout ball and just three more hits allowed the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Gallo chipped away at the plate. After reaching first to start the home half of the first inning, thanks to Rodriguez accidentally throwing to the wrong base, Gallo swatted a homer over the left-field wall as himself, cutting the lead to 6-2. Still, he knew he had work to do and wasn’t ready to celebrate. Instead, he continued to credit his opponent for playing so well.
In the second, the Rangers drew a leadoff walk and the runner moved to second on a one-out wild pitch. Two batters later, after Rodriguez’s first baseman couldn’t make the third out on a flyball down the first-base line, Gallo cut the lead to 6-3 on a base hit up the middle.
Down to the final inning, Gallo as himself moved all the way to third base on what should have been a flyout to left.
“That’s the E-Rod we know,” Gallo ribbed his opponent. “Just kidding, E-Rod.”
The error proved costly, as the lead was again trimmed to 6-4 when Gallo tagged up on a flyout to right. It wasn’t the final miscue of the inning either, as the infamous MLB The Show 20 AI fielding errors reared their ugly head on what should have been the final out of the inning, which would have capped a stunning upset for Rodriguez.
It was not to be.
A double off the left-center wall put runners at second and third for Ronald Guzman, who launched a 1-0 low in the zone fastball to left for the winner. The rocket, a “Perfect-Perfect” flyball, exited off Guzman’s bat at 110 mph and sent Gallo jumping around the room whooping and shouting, “Let’s go, Guzzy!”
“I was shaking that entire game,” Gallo said moments after securing the 7-6 comeback victory. “I cannot believe I just won that.”
Gallo’s Rangers aren’t the only team looking strong through eight matchups. Bo Bichette (Toronto Blue Jays) went 4-0 Tuesday and is now 7-1 overall. Jeff McNeil (New York Mets) and Amir Garrett (Cincinnati Reds) both went 3-1 for the second time this year, sitting at 6-2 alongside idle Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays). Also going 3-1 Tuesday was Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia Phillies), who’s now 5-3.
Garrett, in particular, was riding high Tuesday, with his only loss of the night coming against McNeil. In a blowout victory over Jon Duplantier (Arizona Diamondbacks), Garrett felt confident enough to call in a closer — his fiancee — to play the final out for him (video, go to 42:35). Although she resisted at first, pointing out how “mean” it would be, she relented and made the play at first on a comebacker to the pitcher to end the 7-1 rout.
“My fiancee got the last out on you, Dup,” Garrett taunted Duplantier. “Scrub!”
MLB Players League Streams and Social Links
You can check out the following channels for more info and streaming links: MLB social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch), MLB Network’s Twitch site, “MLB The Show” social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch), the clubs’ social media accounts and MLB.com.
MLB Players League Highlights and Recaps
Did you just learn about the MLB Players League? It’s OK, we have you covered. Check out all the highlights and analysis from each night of action: Night 1 Recap, Night 2 Recap, Night 3 Recap, Night 4 Recap.
Watch MLB The Show (The Show)
We’ll have more in-depth coverage of the Players League in the next episode of our new baseball video series MLB The Show (The Show). In each episode, baseball, video games, and entertainment collide. Featuring exclusive interviews with current and former big leaguers, comedians, actors and celebrity baseball fans, (The Show) is our love letter to the game we’re all missing right now. In last week’s episode, guest Dennis Quaid takes a trip down memory laneabout his hit 2002 baseball film The Rookie. We also slide headfirst into the History of Baseball Video Games. Watch the episode below!
On the next episode, which drops Thursday, April 16, we’re joined by Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme, the stars of Super Troopers, BeerFest, and currently Tacoma FD. They show off their Rec League Softball hardware, fill out a BeerFest roster with Major League players, and recall some wild nights out with former pros. Follow along by subscribing to our YouTube channel!