It was pretty fun there for a little while as the Rangers took a two-run lead on the Chicago Cubs in the 26th and final Opening Day at The Ballpark. Those two runs came in the bottom of the third inning via a home run off the bat of Elvis “Daddy Shark” Andrus after Rougned Odor had doubled in front of him.
The Ballpark, in the beginning of it’s swan song season, was bouncing as the Rangers looked to bring a W to the win column on Opening Day for the first time since the curtains rose on the 2016 season.
But then the visiting Chicago Cubs struck back and, after a solo home run by Javier Baez made it 2-1, before the echoes of Elvis’ new walkup song had left the concourse, it was 7-2 for the National League squad and the hopes for starting the season off on a good foot were dashed.
Mike Minor, the 11th different Opening Day starter for the Rangers in the last 11 years, finished with a line of 4 1⁄3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K and completely ran out of gas in the fateful fifth inning where Chicago plated six runs to take the wind out of the sails of the Rangers.
Two of the last three runs of the top of the fifth went ultimately placed on Minor’s ledger but they were plated via the first pitch Jesse Chavez threw in his return to Texas against the team he was traded to last summer as Baez took him deep for his second home run of the day, this one being a back-breaking three-run dinger.
From there, the game was a slog as Texas trotted out the majority of its bullpen which ended up allowing five additional runs. Of note, both Kyle Bird and Kyle Dowdy made their MLB debuts. Byrd walked the only batter he faced and Dowdy allowed three runs — two coming on a Kris Bryant two-run blast — on four hits and two walks in two innings of work. Dowdy did tally the first strikeout of his career, however.
Ultimately, other than Elvis’ successful day at the plate (3-for-4 with two singles and a dong), the Rangers were pretty quiet against Cubs’ starter Jon Lester who finished the day with a 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K line before giving way to a bullpen that kept the Rangers off the board until Nomar Mazara sent one to the upper deck with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for a two-run homer.
Player of the Game:
The show must go on. Just to rub it in, the Cubs will send Yu Darvish to the mound to face the Rangers while Edinson Volquez will pitch for Texas for the first time since Sept. 28, 2007. First pitch from Arlington is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT on Saturday after a weird day off tomorrow.