The Rangers Are 1-1

Well, that was... ugly:

  • Martin Perez got the start, and while he wasn't the reason the Rangers lost, he wasn't exactly strong, either. He pitched 6 innings, giving up 2 runs (both earned) on 2 hits. The problem was he also walked 4 and hit another. Once he got in trouble, he seemed to get out of rhythm, take longer in between pitches, and just overall get too far inside of his own head. He only managed 3 strikeouts, so there's that.
     
  • With that said, I was slightly surprised when Perez was replaced to start the 7th inning. Maybe it shouldn't have been so surprising since it was his first start of the season, but it the replacement Jeff Banister chose was surprising. Tony Barnette, who at age 32 had never pitched in a Major League game, got the call, and things went about how you might expect. I guess I was generally surprised that he would be called into his first action in the 7th inning of a 2-2 game. I'm not the manager, so it's easy for me to second-guess, but it seems like a less-than-ideal spot to work a guy in.
     
  • Sure enough, Barnette gave up 2 runs, and the Mariners never really looked back.
     
  • By the time Andrew Faulkner came in to pitch in the 8th inning, the damage was done. Tom Wilhelmsen, also making his Rangers debut, gave up 5 runs while recording zero outs. As of this moment, Wilhelmsen's 2016 ERA is endless. It has neither a beginning or an end.
     
  • I'm guessing the Rangers won't have a lefty available for the rubber match in this series. In using Jake Diekman two days in a row and having Faulkner pitch 2 innings, that pretty much leaves them out of the equation if the need arises. And if we know anything about Colby Lewis, it's that he's prone to have short outings from time to time, so it should be interesting to see how this plays out. You'd like to think that situations like this are why Phil Klein even made the Opening Day roster, but again, I'm not the manager.
     
  • Speaking of the manager, Jeff Banister and Scott Servais had some words in the 8th inning when Wilhelmsen hit Chris Iannetta in the hip with a pitch. It didn't seem like the pitch had any intent; more likely that, much like his outing to that point, Wilhelmsen simply had no idea where the ball was going. No matter, Iannetta began barking in the direction of the mound, the benches though about clearing -- a moment made funnier when Prince Fielder momentarily (and jokingly) rushed the field from the dugout -- and Banister saving some choice words for Servais that can't be repeated here, but are easily made out here if you're OK with some bad language. All in all, this was one of those "let's all pound our chests because this is old-school baseball" moments. I find it a little silly, but that's just me. At the very least, it added some entertainment value to an otherwise miserable game for the Rangers.
     
  • By the time the game was over, the Rangers had lost 10-2. In the first two games, the bats really haven't gotten much going. Truth be told, the Rangers should probably be 0-2 right now, but I'll definitely take 1-1, all things considered.
     
  • Rougned Odor had some nice defensive plays in the game, and he also managed to work another walk. He showed some good plate discipline and took pitches that weren't what he was looking for. Although he doesn't have a hit yet, he seems to be making solid contact, so it's only a matter of time.
     
  • As far as defense goes, Shin-Soo Choo had a game to forget in right field. He had a ball that he misplayed off of the wall that allowed the Mariners to score the go-ahead run in the 7th inning, and later had a ball drop in front of him near foul territory that he probably should have reached. He worked 2 walks, and most of us have already known his defense would be a liability in the outfield, but it's still painful to watch at times, nonetheless.
     
  • Two players I'll be keeping my eye on over the next few weeks are Delino DeShields and Ian Desmond. DeShields still needs to prove that he can make more contact and put the ball in play a bit more frequently. He's a smaller player and has never impressed scouts much with his hit tool, but getting on base is really the key to him actually being able to utilize his speed. For Ian Desmond, I see a guy that has a ton of miss in his swing. His strikeout numbers went up significantly from 2013 to 2014, and stayed at the 2014 levels in 2015, and he may end up hurting more than helping if he can't get that number down. He loves to swing at the first pitch, which leaves him working behind in the count quite often. My concern is that he won't be able to hit enough to justify the strikeouts, but only time will tell.
     
  • I hate to harp on things like this, but the strike zone in this game was atrocious. It didn't materially impact the game one way or the other, but it's nonetheless disconcerting to see one of the most important jobs on the field done so poorly. I have no idea what the solution is to fix it -- I think we all know robots calling balls and strikes isn't going to actually happen, at least not anytime soon -- but surely the quality of umpiring we've seen over the first few days of the season isn't the best baseball can do. For reference, I'll leave you with these plots of Marvin Hudson's strike zone on the night.