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Controversies aside, Chris Woodward and the Rangers happy to be in front of their fans again

Photo: Kelly Gavin/Texas Rangers

Controversies aside, Chris Woodward and the Rangers happy to be in front of their fans again

On Monday, the Rangers opened Globe Life Field to full capacity for the first regular-season game in ballpark history. While the crowd wasn’t at one-hundred percent, it was the largest ever at Globe Life Field. “It symbolized a little bit of hope,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said before the game. “We haven’t had a full crowd in a long time. There’s light at the end of the tunnel right now. We have to be responsible for how we do it.”

Of course, stipulations came into place. Masks were required, people needed to try to social distance, and sanitizer stations spread throughout the ballpark. In strolling around the ballpark, about 95% of fans walking around had their masks on. A few didn’t have it properly where it covered the nose, and I saw just a couple who didn’t have it on period (eating and drinking didn’t count).

The Rangers felt the crowd, especially during pregame. “It felt like a real game,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “It felt like back to the old days where we had full capacity. It was electric; unfortunately, we didn’t give them much to cheer about.” For Isiah Kiner-Falefa, it brought him back to his rookie days. “It felt like it was my debut all over again,” Isiah said. “I think the introduction when I first came out, that was one of the coolest moments of my career to this date. I felt appreciated.

The Rangers sent pitcher Mike Foltynewicz to make his first Rangers start. Foltynewicz’s road back after a rough 2020 came to the surface on Monday. However, it wasn’t quite the start that Folty and the Rangers hoped for. After a 35 pitch first inning, he allowed back-to-back homers to Marcus Semien and Cavan Biggio. Foltynewicz’s line ended with four innings, four runs, four hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts. Kyle Cody came in relief and allowed one earned run, one unearned run, and hit three batters in his two-plus innings. Brett de Geus finished the afternoon off strong with two-and-two-thirds of shutout baseball.

Rangers manager Chris Woodward talked about how Foltynewicz has a high rise in energy where he sometimes needs to level it out. “[Folty] pitches better when he’s fired up,” Woody told me after the game. He has that kind of warrior spirit about him. That’s a good setting for him, but he has to calm his emotions and go out and be able to execute.” For Mike, he didn’t pitch terribly; it was excellent execution by the Blue Jays. “I was getting 1-0 on a lot of people. I was kind of getting into a bind with these hitters, [and] I wish I would have gotten ahead of hitters more,” Foltynewicz told me after the game.

The offensive side scuffled too. For the first time in 2021, the Rangers did not score first. They only had four at-bats with a runner in scoring position (1-for-4), and they struck out fourteen times. The lineup went down for the first three innings, and the only extra-base hit came with two outs in the ninth. Kiner-Falefa talked about the batters’ eye and how the shadows were present when the Rangers came to bat and how the shadows were gone when the Blue Jays came to bat. Kiner-Falefa did start that statement by saying, “No excuses.”

Game action-wise it didn’t start nor finish well for the Rangers. The club falls to 1-3, and while de Geus came out a positive, there wasn’t too much to cheer about. The one historical piece came in the fourth inning when Nate Lowe set a franchise record for most RBIs in the first four games of a season, overtaking Nomar Mazara’s 2017 record of 9 RBIs in four games. Nate has ten on the season, while second on the club is Joey Gallo with four.

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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