ARLINGTON, Texas -- Globe Life Park is no longer a launching pad for home runs. If given the choice, Texas Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar wants to keep it that way.
“I remember coming in here as a visiting coach, and the ball used to carry better," Bogar said before Saturday’s matchup against the Oakland Athletics. “It used to be a hitter’s park."
But after some physical changes to the stadium’s structure a couple years ago, the wind that used to howl in the direction of center and right-center fields has been reduced.
Bogar noted that while balls hit in the direction of the Rangers’ bullpen do still seem to carry, balls to center field do not.
“I’ve seen a ton of balls die in left-center that I thought were home runs," he said.
A spacious outfield, the manager pointed out, can lead to more extra-base hits.
“I’d rather have a bigger park," Bogar added.
Baseball, Bogar said, goes through cycles, and now the trend is moving away from one-dimensional sluggers and back to all-around ballplayers.
“I don’t buy into the idea that a strikeout is just another out," he said. “Having the ability to take swings and hit the ball puts pressure on a defense. There’s a lot of value in a positive out."
The benchmark for a strikeout-prone batter used to be fanning 100 times in a season.
“Now it is more like 150," Bogar said. "And that’s a joke."
Meaningful game: The Rangers, out of playoff contention for weeks, have another chance to play spoiler tonight. Oakland needs one more win or a Seattle Mariners loss to the Los Angeles Angels to clinch a wild-card playoff berth. With the other game starting later, the Athletics should have the opportunity to clinch on the field.
Despite Friday’s 6-2 loss to Oakland, the Rangers are 13-7 under Bogar and have won 12 of the past 14.
Adduci starts: Jim Adduci, out of action since Aug. 28 due to a concussion, draws a start as designated hitter for Game 161. Adduci was injured making a catch in foul territory in Houston when his head hit the warning track and side wall.
It has been a frustrating season for the Rangers’ outfielder. In April, Adduci fractured a finger, and that caused him to miss the next three months.