A few thoughts, after watching the Rangers take down the ChiSox, 3-2, on Opening Day...
- Ian Kinsler was tearing it up late in spring training, with his contract negotiations heating up. If he was bothered by not getting a deal done by Opening Day, he didn't show it, ripping a double and a homer in his first two ABs, then almost reaching on a bunt attempt that John Danks made a nice play on. While Kinsler says he's not negotiating during the season, it sounds like his agent, Jay Franklin, and the Rangers are still talking, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if a deal was announced in the next few days.
- The rest of the Ranger offense was pretty quiet against Danks and a pair of ChiSox relievers. Texas only had seven baserunners on the day -- six via hits, along with Nelson Cruz getting on base on a strikeout/wild pitch combo. Texas saw a total of 100 pitches on the day, and Danks did a good job all day long getting the Texas batters out in front of of his changeup. The Ranger game plan on offense appeared to be aggressive early in the count, but they didn't do a real good job of capitalizing.
- Colby Lewis looked a lot more like the Colbyashi of 2010 than the Rick Helling clone he appeared to be in 2011. While Adam Dunn did take Lewis extremely deep in the sixth, Colby struck out 9 and walked just 1, and until he faded in the sixth inning when his pitch count was getting up, his fastball and slider were both impressive.
- I don't have a DVR, so I can't tell if Alex Rios scoring from first base on a single to left field in the 6th was the result of David Murphy being too casual on that play, or Murphy just getting a bad break on the ball. Either way, though, that can't happen...even on a hit-and-run play, with the runner going, you can't let Alex Rios score the tying run from first base on a relatively shallow single.
- The bullpen set up just the way Ron Washington and Mike Maddux drew it up...Alexi Ogando struck out all three batters he faced in the 7th, Mike Adams had a scoreless 8th, and Joe Nathan set down the ChiSox in order in the 9th. While I would like to see the Rangers be more aggressive in using Ogando for multiple innings this season -- the guy did, after all, pitch as a starter last year -- Ogando is a lot more vulnerable than Adams to lefties, so with Dunn leading off the 8th, I didn't have a problem with Adams coming in. I am hoping, though, that Texas will consider using Ogando as a 50 appearance/90 inning guy, rather than just rolling him out there for an inning and then going to the next guy in line the next inning.
- After Murphy struck out to end the bottom of the 7th, Craig Gentry replaced him in the lineup, going to center field, and Josh Hamilton moved to left field. I tweeted that this showed that even Ron Washington didn't think Hamilton was the best centerfielder on the team, prompting both Drew Davison and Ben Rogers to tweet back that Washington did think Hamilton was the best defender in center, but that Gentry isn't comfortable in left field. While that may be what Wash says publicly, I have a hard time believing that Gentry -- a gold glove caliber defender in the outfield, and a guy who was called the organization's best outfield defender even when he was still in the minors -- isn't better than Hamilton in center field. If that's the case, you're weakening your defense at a more critical position -- center -- in order to upgrade your defense in left from Hamilton to Murphy. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to make that move if Gentry is inferior to Hamilton in center.