Opening Day is in the books for the Texas Rangers, but it sure felt like it took eons to get there.
The Dallas Cowboys lost 14-10 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday (oh wait, did we make a football analogy there? We meant the Texas Rangers lost to the Kansas City Royals).
You couldn’t be blamed for thinking that this was a Big XII game or an NFL game based on peeking a glance at that final score, an unusually high one for baseball.
Here’s what we learned about the Texas Rangers from the game.
Starting pitching will be hard to come by for the Texas Rangers in 2021.
There was lots of hits and runs scored, but pitching? Never heard of her.
Brad Keller and Kyle Gibson, the Royals and Rangers starters, respectively, surrendered 11 total runs in a combined 1.2 innings pitched (Gibson was out after just a 1/3 of a frame).
There were multiple lead changes, with the Royals managing to pull ahead in the seventh and never looking back afterwards.
It was a discouraging day for Gibson, who had been working on adding a cutter in spring training and looked effective in exhibition games. Instead, Gibson is now the owner of a hideous 135.00 ERA in 2021.
Not how you plan your first Opening Day start to go, or the beginning of your comeback season for that matter.
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To make matters worse, the Rangers bullpen, a supposed strength of this team, was forced into very premature action.
It showed, as the unit combined for 8.2 innings pitched and nine runs allowed.
The Rangers really don’t have many starters they can trust this season, and that will ultimately be the undoing of this team in 2021.
Bullpens can only be so effective and do so much heavy-lifting, so the Rangers must get better in the starting pitching department.
The Texas Rangers lineup will be improved in 2021.
The other obvious takeaway from Opening Day was the explosivity of this offense.
David Dahl looked like his 2019 All-Star self in the game with three hits, a walk and two runs scored in six plate appearances.
If Dahl can stay healthy, we know this is the type of player he can be.
Nate Lowe started 2021 with a vengeance, winding up as the team’s most prolific run producer in the contest with four RBI’s for the Texas Rangers and two hits in six at-bats.
Joey Gallo also had two RBIs in the game, as did Eli White. Nick Solak had one.
In total, every Texas Rangers starter had at least one hit except for Leody Taveras, who had a golden sombrero on the day (four strikeouts).
The Rangers had one of baseball’s worst run-producing offenses in 2020, so this aspect of the contest was incredibly refreshing to watch and certainly is encouraging as the team seeks better results at the dish in 2021.
Look, it’s just Opening Day. We still have 161 games to play.
Of course, Opening Day will lend itself to overreactions. But these games count for the Rangers now.
Chris Woodward can’t just roll innings like he did in spring, nor can they decide to play six or seven innings.
It’s time for the Rangers to reckon with their starting pitching issue, while also having to be satisfied with the way their lineup looked in a first taste of meaningful action in 2021.
This is sure to be a roller coaster of a season, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!