Texas Rangers: Opening Day hot takes
By West Jones
Speaking of athletes, Bubba Thompson is exactly that. Anyone that has read any of my work, knows how much I think of the speedster. He came into the game in the fifth inning as a pinch hitter for Smith and then took over duties in center field. Thompson went 0 - 2 with two popups and I kept envisioning Bochy doing his best Lou Brown and telling Bubba that he owed him pushups every time that he hit the ball in the air. I digress, the bat wasn't the star of the show for Thompson on Thursday, but the glove was. He wasted little time getting on SportsCenter as he robbed Jake Cave of a homerun in left-center field. Bochy is going to enjoy having so many young athletic players at his disposal throughout the season.
In another case of baseball symetry, Thursday's game was the second time that the Rangers and Phillies have faced off on Opening Day. Both teams now have one win and both teams have scored 21 runs apiece in the two games, for a total runs scored in the two contests coming in at 42. If you like offense, next time the Rangers open a season against the Phillies, you might want to buy a ticket.
Robbie Grossman introduced himself to the fans in a big way Thursday. His three run homerun in the fourth inning tied the game at five and shot electricty throughout the stands. The crowd was just waiting for something to cheer for as we got into the five run hole early. After plating two, Grossman came up with two in scoring position and didn't just get them in but ignited the first homerun fireworks of the 2023 season.
Brad Miller is now two for two when it comes to hitting homeruns on Opening Day for the Rangers. His bomb in the fifth gave us a little more breathing room which was good. Last year was a struggle for Miller, but he will be looking to bounce back this season. It is just one game and one swing, but it is a solid start.
Both teams were lights out when it came to hitting with runners in scoring position on Thursday. The Phillies had many more opportunities and went 4 for 12 with RISP. The Rangers on the other hand, had less opportunities, but capitalized on all of them, going a perfect 5 for 5 with RISP.
One of the big concerns coming into the season for Ranger fans was the bullpen. After the rough start and early exit by ace Jacob deGrom, the pen stepped up to the occasion. The combination of Cole Ragans, Brock Burke, Jonathan Hernandez, and Jose Leclerc went 5.1 innings and gave up only two runs. Ragans picked up his first career win even though he only threw five total pitches and gave up a double allowing his inherited runner to score. The win and loss statistics in baseball are a bit antiquated and many times don't tell the real picture, but this is also a topic for another day.
The game was great, the crowd was excited, and it is always nice to win on Opening Day. Here's to playing 161 more!