Texas Rangers: Opening Day hot takes

Robbie Grossman gets the first ice bath of 2023 for the Texas Rangers.
Robbie Grossman gets the first ice bath of 2023 for the Texas Rangers. / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages
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Bruce Bochy, Jeff Nelson
Bruce Bochy arguing his case on Opening Day. / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

The move that jumped out at me as one that I didn't really agree with, is when he played the infield in during the third inning when the score was 2 - 0. I get the idea that it was a game that felt like it had the makings of a pitcher's duel, but to me the third inning is way too early to pull the infield in. Personally, I would never consider this strategy unless it was in the last inning or two of the game, but that is just me. The move didn't cost us or help us, but it will be interesting to watch over the course of the season if this is something that Bochy does frequently or if he uses his instincts to make those types of calls. At the end of the day, I am fine with him making the decision, quite frankly, because he is the one with three World Series rings and I have only attended World Series games in the stands.

While we are on Bochy, I feel like I have to mention his reactions, or lack thereof, on hard foul balls into the Ranger's dugout. There were two extremely hard hit foul balls that came in the close proximety to the Ranger's skipper. Players and staff alike were moving and taking cover, but Bochy never flinched... like not a muscle. Maybe he is going with the theory that he runs a greater risk of getting hurt by trying to get out to the way and he will just stay put and take his chances where he is located. Whatever his thought processes, it was very impressive. When Kyle Schwarber rips a foul ball at you and you stand your ground, that it someone that I want leading our team. Former catchers are a tough lot.

There has been and will continue to be much talk about the new pace of play rules. I am personally in favor of them in general and may get into that further at a later date. But the fact that the Opening Day game featured 18 runs, 22 hits (11 for extra bases), 11 total pitchers with four in inning pitching changes, and the game time was only 3:04, is pretty remarkable.

The Rangers have some athletes on this roster. Josh Smith is a straight up ballplayer. He is an unassuming guy, other than his flowing locks, and yet he consistently finds himself in the right place at the right time. His speed is real and his ability to read the play is something that is instinctual. During the marathon bottom of the fourth, he read that a single to center was going to fall and was able to easily move from first to third. Moments later with the bases loaded he got a fantastic jump on a dribbler off the bat of Nathaniel Lowe to beat the ball to the plate. Guys like Smith help win games and that is what we need.