Opening Day 2021 and Opening Day 2022 for the Texas Rangers had eerily similar feels.
Both games featured fireworks on offense, saw both teams suffer from bad pitching and both games were played on the road for the Rangers. But even if things turned out like they did a year ago, let it be known that this 2022 team already has its identity one game into the season: they’re ready to mash.
That fact alone is different than a year ago. The Texas Rangers scored 10 runs on Opening Day in 2021 and weren’t able to to repeat that feat very often as their offense struggled to produce consistently. This year, Texas boasts a deep and balanced lineup, and that was on display right from the start by spotting Jon Gray a huge lead in the first inning and knocking Blue Jays’ Opening Day starter Jose Berrios out of the game.
The 2022 Texas Rangers will hit their way to wins this season
Brad Miller’s leadoff home run was the catalyst for an offense that would score eight runs against Toronto’s vaunted pitching staff. Mitch Garver and Adolis Garcia homered. Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Nathaniel Lowe all drove in runs and got on base. It was the kind of the production from this lineup that we’re going to grow accustomed to seeing just based on how it’s built. The offense is lightyears ahead of the pitching, even despite Jon Gray being solid on the mound before leaving with a blister in the fourth inning.
The bullpen was a disaster, somehow blowing a comfortable lead. It’s obvious the entire Rangers’ pitching staff is a work in progress, and that will always be a cause for concern until it’s fixed. The good news? Prospect reinforcements are on the way.
Overall, it’s hard to feel too let down by another Opening Day loss. We had a sense of what Texas’ identity would be going into this season, and it played out exactly as such in Toronto.
The Rangers won’t be able to out-slug every opponent, never mind potential World Series contenders like the Blue Jays, but their potent lineup and even a half-decent day from their pitching staff is a formula that will lead to real on-field improvement in 2022.