Rangers fans had waited 154 days since the last time they saw their club take the field. There are numerous competitions within the organization ranging from about six positions to two rotation spots and the bullpen. The Rangers started Spring with a semi-A lineup with at least seven or eight of those guys with a great chance of making the club. There were a few notable occurrences through a shortened Spring Training game Sunday.
Drew Anderson is pitching in a game that the Texas #Rangers cannot win. I mean they literally have a 0.00% chance to win because after the bottom of the sixth, the game is over. KC leads 3-2.
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) February 28, 2021
Rules, Rules Galore!
The Rangers had to do some talking to the Royals before the game. Kansas City wanted to play a nine-inning game while the Rangers only had enough for seven innings entering Saturday. However, Luis Ortiz’s injury caused the Rangers to shorten the game to six innings while the Royals finished the day in an intrasquad game. In the bottom of the second inning, Kansas City loaded the bases, but Nick Vincent’s pitch count inflated to over twenty pitches. A new rule this Spring is that the defensive team can call the inning if the pitcher has a pitch count over twenty. It’s a rule that Rangers manager Chris Woodward is in favor of. The same circumstance occurred in the bottom of the fifth as Joe Gatto couldn’t complete the three outs. Finally, the game lasted six full innings, but the home team led in the bottom of the sixth. Yes, the Royals did bat in the bottom of the sixth with the lead. After the sixth, the Royals kept playing while Texas called it a day.
Joey Gallo goes deep.
Joey Gallo’s offensive production is a significant question mark. The Rangers hope Gallo goes back to early 2019 form, where he became a force with his power and his eye. In Joey’s first at-bat, Gallo does what he does, launch a baseball. Granted, the wind swirled on Sunday, but not even the Anemoi could knock that baseball down. Joey did start 2020’s Spring two for his first five but started struggling, and remember he started the season in 2020 strong too.
Here’s video evidence if you’re into that kinda thing. pic.twitter.com/uJxZmgAZyf
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) February 28, 2021
Wes Benjamin gets things going.
Wes Benjamin received the honor of throwing the first pitch for the Rangers in Spring Training. It was a quick and breezy inning for Wes, but the weird thing was, he threw in front of people. “It was a little strange,” Wes told me. “There’s a definite higher energy in the ballpark. Even just foul balls, people were cheering and stuff. It was great to be back, glad to see faces in the stands.” Despite the one-inning plan, Benjamin did try to haggle with Woodward to go out for another inning. Wes Benjamin is a candidate to make the club and the rotation. “I’m excited to be utilized in any role [Woodward] wants. I would love to be a starter, but at the end of the day, I’m trying to win games for our team whatever role [Woodward] wants.”
Guzman started game one at first base, but there were talks about him playing the outfield. According to Chris Woodward, Guzman approached the Rangers in shagging fly balls and possibly playing in the outfield. “He power-shags in the outfield all the time,” Woodward told me. Keep in mind; these possible defensive changes are not due to a defensive-challenged Ronald Guzman. It’s strictly due to Guzman struggling at the plate. Guzman finished day 1 for 2 with a single and a lineout. Along with that, Guzman caught a popup on an extremely windy day and recorded three putouts at first base.
Sunday’s game ultimately ended with a Royals win, 3-2, despite both teams playing six full innings (Kansas City batted in the bottom of the sixth with the lead). It truly is an experience witnessing something that you may never witness in the game of baseball. Then again, welcome to 2021, where games last two hours and four minutes.
#Rangers manager Chris Woodward on playing in front of people,
"It was good to feel the energy of the crowd and just to look and see actual real fans instead of the DoppelRangers."
It was first time the #Rangers played a game w/ fans since March 11th (354 days ago).
— Alex Plinck (@aplinckTX) February 28, 2021
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