50,146 people were on hand in Arlington Texas to see Opening Day for the 2010 American League Champion Texas Rangers, they were not disappointed. The Rangers won 9 to 5 against the Boston Red Sox, with the winning hit coming from a pinch hit two-RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning from David Murphy. We’ll break down the game after the jump.
The bats were hot in Arlington this afternoon starting with a lead-off home run to start the bottom of the 1st inning from Ian Kinsler. Nelson Cruz hit a home run in the 2nd inning, and new acquisition Mike Napoli hit a crucial 3 run jack in the fourth inning.
Many Ranger fans felt that David Murphy should have gotten the start and he certainly validated their demands. Murphy came in off the bench cold in the eighth inning to win the game for the team. Washington after the game explained the situation “We had him ready since the 7th brought him out there and thought he had a better chance than Borbon at the hit.” Wash’s gut reaction on the pinch hit was rock solid and hopefully Murphy can earn some more playing time as a result.
C.J. Wilson had a good outing, CJ went five and two-thirds innings giving up six hits, four runs (two of them earned), and six strikeouts. After allowing a walk to Mike Cameron in the sixth inning Ron Washington pulled him from the game. Mark Lowe came in and got the final out of the inning. After the sixth inning the Rangers led 5 to 4. All and all a decent start for the team’s ace, he only walked two and with the six strikeouts in the game we can certainly see the hard work in the offseason may pay off for Wilson.
Arthur Rhodes came in to handle the seventh inning allowed no hits and no runs and only walked one. After a shaky spring this was a reassuring appearance for Rhodes who seemed to be a question mark coming into the game. Following Rhodes was his doppelganger Darren Oliver, Oliver did well but gave up a home run to David Ortiz that ended up tying the game. Aside from the solo home-run he seemed to have control in the game having no issues with the other three batters in the inning. Oliver received credit for the win in the end.
After regaining the lead in the bottom of the eighth 2010 Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz came into the game for the ninth and took care of the side. Three up three down with a strikeout for Feliz. Feliz didn’t get a save or the win but had as good of an inning as you can.
Boston didn’t just roll over and give this game away; they had big hits from their big guys and used speed to their advantage. While Ortiz had the only home run former Ranger Adrian Gonzalez had three RBIs on two hits both of these in clutch situations with two outs. Kevin Youkilis had a double and an RBI on the game. The team also picked up two stolen bases one from Gonzalez and Ellsbury.
Pitching was a different story, today we saw an abnormal Jon Lester who gave up six hits and give runs in a little over five innings. Lester who normally doesn’t give up home runs gave up all three the Rangers in today’s game. Daniel Bard ultimately lost the game for the Sox working two-thirds of an inning and giving up four hits and four runs.
We still have question marks in the bullpen but the team went a long way in making Ranger fans more comfortable. Neftali Feliz sure felt good back in that closer spot and Rhodes and Lowe looked good as well, (granted Lowe only had one out to get).
The offense is solid and the Rangers certainly have a lineup to fear in the American League.
Tomorrow the Rangers take on the Red Sox in game two of the season and the series. Colby Lewis will take the mound against John Lackey for the Sox. (Not sure if you remember but he hit Kinsler in the first inning a couple years ago when he played for the Angels and was tossed in the first inning). Also for some fun check out Toucher and Rich from Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub’s bit “John Lackey or a Muppet” below.
Welcome back baseball!