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Rangers’ Opening Weekend Recap and Week Ahead

Photo: Klay Kuban

Rangers’ Opening Weekend Recap and Week Ahead

Let’s take a look at this past weekend’s series with the Chicago Cubs.

Thursday March 28th

W – Jon Lester (1-0)         L – Mike Minor (0-1)
HRs – CHC: Baez 2 (2), Bryant (1) | TEX: Andrus (1), Mazara (1)

Observations: Mike Minor’s opening day line was misleading. For the first four innings, Minor allowed three baserunners, seven groundouts, and the only damage was a 0-2 curveball that hung enough for Javier Baez. It was an unlucky fifth inning that opened with a leadoff hit by pitch to David Bote, accompanied by three straight hits for the Cubs. Overall, Minor looked decent in his first start.

Turning Point: In the fifth inning, Jason Heyward came up with runners on the corners and none out. He grounded a ball up the middle that ricocheted off the mound, causing a difficult handle for Elvis. Andrus bobbled the ball tried a desperation toss to second, but Zobrist barely beat the throw. However, if the ball didn’t hit the mound, it would be a simple double play and the bases cleared with two outs and a tie game. Instead, the Cubs had first and second, none out in a tie game. As a result, the Cubs followed with five additional runs. Eventually, Woodward took Minor out before he got out of the inning.

Crazy stat of the game: The Rangers only had two at-bats with runners in scoring position all game. The club converted one of those two chances, thanks to the Elvis home run.


Saturday March 30th


W – Shawn Kelley (1-0)    L- Carl Edwards Jr. (0-1)  S – Jose Leclerc (1)
HRs – CHC: Schwarber (1) | TEX: Cabrera (1), Gallo (1)

Observations: The Rangers took full advantage of Darvish’s lack of control on his slider and fastball. The Rangers did not put a ball in play until the Rougned Odor single in the second inning, on Yu Darvish’s fifty-eighth pitch of the night. Before that at-bat, the Rangers struck out four times and walked six times as Odor was the tenth batter for Texas on Saturday. Texas’ offense began one for their first nine with runners in scoring position. They produced in two of their final three at-bats including the game-winner by Joey Gallo in the eighth.

Turning Point: In the bottom of the seventh, Rangers had runners at second and third with no outs. Kiner-Falefa and DeShields struck out looking adding a frustrating night of not converting with runners on (and an inconsistent strike zone on the right-handed side of the plate). Shin-Soo Choo came up to the plate on a night where he struck out four times. Choo delivered with a 2-run single to right center inching the Rangers within one run. Finally, Joey Gallo capped off the win by launching a three-run shot to “Joey Gallo territory” in center field on a first-pitch fastball away by Carl Edwards Jr.

Crazy Stat of the Game: The Rangers walked twelve times for the first time since 2011 against the Kansas City Royals (game went eleven innings). Also, it was the first time in a nine-inning game since 1996 against the Orioles in a 26-7 win at home.


Sunday March 31st


W – Jose LeClerc (1-0)    L- Pedro Strop (0-1)
HRs – CHC: Schwarber (2), Rizzo (1) | TEX: Cabrera (2), Mathis (1), DeShields (1)

 

Observations: The Rangers showed the most resiliency in their club today. The club walked another six times today, accumulating twenty total walks in this three-game series. Delino DeShields hit his first ever grand slam in his career. However, what assisted in that opportunity was two incredible at-bats between Logan Forsythe and Jeff Mathis, each resulting in a walk. However, the bullpen combination with Chavez, Martin, and Bird continue to be a pressure point for this club. They combined this game to record six outs, seven hits, three runs, and two walks.

Turning Point: This game had more twists and turns than the Kingda Ka at Six Flags in New Jersey. If you had to choose one turning point, it’s the Joey Gallo at-bat to start the ninth inning. Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop tried both sides of the plate. Gallo swung and missed on a 2-0 inside slider, but two pitches later on 3-1, Joey flicks a near walk-off home run. It turned to a double and eventually scored on the wild pitch to win. In Joey Gallo’s last three at-bats of the day, he went to left field all three times. Joey singled, doubled, and flew out in those at-bats.

Crazy Stat of the Game: Jeff Mathis celebrated his 36th birthday Sunday. In his career on his birthday, Jeff Mathis is three for eight with two home runs and three walks. Jeff Mathis has hit forty-nine MLB career home runs.

Rangers’ week ahead (reminder that pitching match ups are scheduled to change, these are projected starters based on team’s rotations and announcements)

Monday April 1st – RHP Brad Peacock (1st Start of 2019) vs  LHP Drew Smyly (1st Start of 2019)
7:05 PM | TV: FSSW | Radio: 105.3 Fan, KFLC (Spanish)

Tuesday April 2nd – RHP Justin Verlander (1-0, 1.29) vs RHP Shelby Miller (1st Start of 2019)
7:05 PM | TV: FSSW | Radio: 105.3 Fan, KFLC (Spanish)

Wednesday April 3rd – RHP Gerrit Cole (0-1, 1.50) vs LHP Mike Minor (0-1, 11.57)
7:05 PM | TV: FSSW | Radio: 105.3 Fan, KFLC (Spanish)

Series Notes: The Rangers and Astros kick off the Battle of the Silver Boot. The Astros took the crown in 2018 going 12-7 against Texas. These two clubs were dominant on the road against each other in 2018. The Rangers lost nine of ten at home against Houston, while winning six of nine at Minute Maid Park. Last year, Astros ace Justin Verlander went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in twelve innings at Globe Life Park. Astros scored four runs in the last three games this past weekend against the Rays, they went 0-3 in those games.

Thursday April 4th – RHP Edinson Vólquez (0-0, 9.00) vs RHP Matt Harvey (0-0, 3.00)
9:07 PM | TV: FSSW | Radio: 105.3 Fan, KFLC (Spanish)| *Angels Home Opener

Friday April 5th – RHP Lance Lynn (0-0, 11.12) vs RHP Felix Pena (0-1, 9.82)
9:07 PM | TV: FSSW | Radio: 105.3 Fan, KFLC (Spanish)

Saturday April 6th – LHP Drew Smyly (0-0, 0.00) vs LHP Tyler Skaggs (0-1, 3.86)
3:05 PM | TV: FSSW, FS1 | Radio: 105.3 Fan, KFLC (Spanish)

Sunday April 7th – RHP Shelby Miller (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Chris Stratton (0-0, 0.00)
3:07 PM | TV: FSSW | Radio: 105.3 Fan, KFLC (Spanish)

Series Notes: Last season, the Rangers went 6-13 against the Angels including dropping their last five consecutive games against the Halos. In those nineteen games, the Rangers averaged 2.9 runs a game, the second lowest average against any team in 2018 (2.67 R/GM against the Rays). Thursday will mark the first road game of the season for the Rangers where they were 33-48 last season and 2-7 at Angel Stadium.

The 2019 season is just getting started.

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. My baseball memory bank is dominated by the Texas Rangers with the other 29 franchises sprinkled in. In addition, I enjoy NFL Sunday afternoons and only the first NCAA tournament weekend.

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