The Texas Rangers officially started the 2021 season. I think back to the 1986 Clint Eastwood film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Although the movie’s synopsis bears no resemblance to the game against the Royals, the title does. Nobody expects the Rangers to compete for anything other than a top 5 picks in the 2022 draft. But there were some good things in the game. There were some bad things in the game too. Perhaps more important were the ugly things. Let’s sum it up.
The offensive: I’m not saying this team will be an offensive juggernaut after a game. However, if you get 10 runs with no home runs, that’s impressive. They hit nearly .500 with runners in the goal position. Royals starter Brad Keller is no fool. This was his second year on opening day and the Rangers were over him from the start. Keller even beat Isiah Kiner-Falefa 2-0 before scoring 2-2 and then doubling down to start the game. Late in the game the offense stuttered a little, but they kept working.
Eli White: Many of us were surprised when the opening roster was announced. With a right-handed pitcher on the hill, most assumed a left-handed heavy constellation would be set up there. But Chris Woodward nodded to White over the left hander and met Ronald Guzman. White went for a walk and 2 RBI’s 2 for 4.
John King: The LHP was one of the bright spots from the bullpen. In a game where the pitching wasn’t good, King only needed 11 pitches, 8 of which were strikes, to get three up and three down. Throwing strikes is what the organization preached and what King listened to.
Leody Taveras: Taveras was 0 for 5 with four spikes. Again, this is just a game. But if you compete with Eli White who had a good game, it’s not a good day. Taveras could have felt the pressure to play with White too. If that’s the case, things aren’t looking good. It means that it folded under the pressure. I wouldn’t be surprised if Taveras started spending more time in the minor leagues this season.
Kyle Gibson: There’s no denying that Gibson was just bad. He admitted his sinker was the only thing he was in control of. The new cutter wasn’t working the way he wanted it to and he couldn’t get out of the first inning. Gibson is a good pitcher. His track record proves this. While he was bad, he can prove that this was just a bad game. Time will tell us if I’m right No time to panic just yet.
The defence: If the Rangers have kept saying defense is a priority, it doesn’t look good to see three mistakes on opening day. Former Gold Glove third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa was provisional on a throw home and therefore allowed an infiltration hit. Jose Trevino was charged with a catcher inference and passed the ball. Both were important to the continuation of the inning. I say again that this is just a game. But it didn’t look good.
Nick Solak turns two: This is a personal observation on my part. Nick Solak is not good at becoming two. It seems to be slow in exchange and out of place on the bag. His racket is good. The question is, how good does it have to be to make up for defensive inadequacies? It seemed like a couple of outfield decisions would have been doubles if someone else was in second place.
Am I overreacted to ONE game? …….May be.
SIDE NOTE: If Solak’s defense is too much of an issue for his bat, who will take his place on the field? Most would think Anderson Tejeda. The question would be whether or not he is ready for the offensive. Charlie Culberson? Do the Rangers want to look into the future with a 31-year-old? What about Brock Holt? Same question applies. Perhaps the solution is Eli White. White has been a midfielder for most of his career, moving to the outfield in 2019 after being transferred to Texas last winter.
Featured image: fangraphs