Arlington, Texas – After a winter of optimism, it all seemed to come crashing down in the second inning for the Texas Rangers. Tanner Scheppers took on the Philadelphia Phillies and Cliff Lee on what was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel It was anything but that.
Good start: Scheppers pitched a great first inning by retiring the first three batters. Everything seemed like the day was going to play out what everyone had expected. Funny thing is, they expected it to be Yu Darvish not, Scheppers did. Also, Cliff Lee pitched a very effective first inning. That was expected, and fans probably figured it would be a tough day for the Rangers bats all day long.
That didn’t last long: After the first inning it appeared a different Tanner Scheppers went t the mound. It was hard to tell from my view point if he was nervous, but his command wasn’t as effective as the first inning. Also, I wonder how tight the strike zone was today because Scheppers and Lee both had a hard time getting strikes. Scheppers was apparnetly trying to paint the corners today, and it wasn’t effective at all. He got shelled in the second inning for 6 runs, 4 of those runs were off a Jimmy Rollins grand slam. At that point, the whole stadium was silent. Everyone’s stomach dropped and it seemed like the season was lost at that very moment.
Even worse: Thing did seem to look better when the Rangers managed to get some runs back in the 2 inning off of Cliff Lee. With the help of Leonys Martin and Josh Wilson, they tacked 4 on the board, and it wasn’t too long that they tied it. But, that lead and the optimism in the stadium didn’t last long. During the second inning it appeared that the Seth Rosin started warming up in the bullpen, but after the 4 runs by the Rangers Ron Washington decided to keep his starter in the game. He managed to pitch well in the 3rd, Rangers rallied in the bottom of the inning, but the wheels were about to fall off.
Scheppers again started getting banged up, and finally lost the lead again. Then help came in from the bullpen. And that’s when things got worse. Pedro Figueroa, Alexi Ogando, Shawn Tolleson and Seth Rosin were used to finish the game. If they could have managed to contain the Phillies, it would have been enough to win it for the Rangers. But, it seemed like every time a new pitcher was used or a pinch hitter was used, everyone was using the phone to find out who these guys were. I’m sure mlb.com and baseball-reference were well used today. That’s not totally bad, players like Donnie Murphy, Michael Choice and Seth Rosin all got in some valuable playing time and did very well.
Stay positive: In what should have been enough, the Rangers lost their Opening day game to the Phillies 10-14. To me, there are still some positives from today’s game. The Rangers offense was very hot and that has carried them in April for the past few years. Their pitching will also improve, for the most part, it can only get better. Many fans after today were very negative, in fact may fans no longer think the Rangers will make the playoffs. The Rangers have had one of the best bullpens in baseball, right now it is plucked a bit for them to have a starting rotation, but help is coming. The Rangers should have Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis back soon, and that will give a much needed boost to their bullpen. Once they have that, combined with the explosive offense, the Rangers are still setup to make a great push towards the playoffs. So don’t let one game make you give up, sure it was a tough loss today, and things at times looked ugly, but it was only one game. Tomorrow the Rangers will wipe the slate clean and start a new day.
Next up: Rangers have a chance to bounce back Tuesday night. Tomorrow’s match up is A.J. Burnett vs Martin Perez at 7:05 PM CDT. Hopefully Perez will pitch well, the bullpen was heavily used today and didn’t bring their best stuff. It was very windy today, maybe that played part in today’s high run total.