Texas Rangers: Impressions from the spring opener
By Travis Koch
A 9-1 loss was not the spring training start the Texas Rangers were looking for. The losing effort was a result of quiet bats and ineffective arms.
The Texas Rangers fell to the Kansas City Royals by a score of 9-1 in yesterday’s spring opener. It’s spring training, and yesterday was game one of spring training; thus, the result doesn’t mean much. However, I won’t go as far as to say it means nothing.
Player progression is a massive part of spring training. So is competition. Some players have the luxury of going through the motions, namely the veterans. For example, Elvis Andrus could have a terrible spring but no one would worry. He’s been there, done that. Come the start of the regular season, he’ll be ready to go.
The young ones, on the other hand, have a lot to play for. From the first spring training game to the last, the guys vying for a spot on the roster will be intensely evaluated. The same goes for the guys who are fighting for a starting role.
Yesterday was not a good start for the players of either classification. Not one of them.
SP Ariel Jurado – Fighting for a rotation spot
Two innings pitched, four hits allowed, two earned runs, two strikeouts
OF Willie Calhoun – Fighting for a roster spot and a starting outfield role
0-for-4, no strikeouts
CF Delino DeShields – Trying to hold ground as starting center fielder
0-for-3, no strikeouts
2B Andy Ibanez – Competing for utility infield role
1-for-3 with one RBI and five runners left on base
RP Jonathan Hernandez – #5 prospect and potential late-season call-up
0.1 innings pitched, three walks, three earned runs
Kyle Bird – Fighting for bullpen spot
One inning pitched, three hits allowed, one earned run, one strikeout
There’s no need to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Believe me, that’s not what I’m trying to do. Each of those players has plenty of time to make up for one bad outing. It’s just a shame to begin spring training competition with any bit of a bad taste. Yesterday was a bad taste for those players, but also any fans who were following the game.
Word throughout Rangers’ nation is the team is going to be better this year. And the emergence of young talent is a big part of that premise. Fans want to see the young players–the players of the future–show gradual improvement at the very least.
The players essential to the upcoming season either fared okay yesterday or didn’t play at all. Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman were the only two guaranteed starters in the lineup. Gallo struck out once but also drew a walk. Guzman knocked a double.
Again, an 0-1 start to spring training is no biggie. But that doesn’t mean fans weren’t grimacing while skimming through the box score. Calhoun didn’t get off to the blazing start that fans were hoping for. Jurado and DeShields basically picked up from where they left off at the end of the 2018 season.
Give them time. Give them all time. Pitchers need time to get used to live hitting and hitters need time to get used to live pitching. Hopefully the Texas Rangers will turn the corner tomorrow afternoon against the Milwaukee Brewers.