Today’s game between the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals was different than Thursday’s Opening Day affair but not terribly so. It wasn’t quite as sloppy or arduous or bizarre as the opener but it shared a few of the same properties as the 14-10 April Fools’ massacre.
Worse still, with two similar losses under their belt, we now have the blueprint for how things could get troubling for the Rangers this summer.
Much like Thursday, when Texas put five runs on the board in their first frame of the season, Texas scored two runs in the first inning off old ace Mike Minor and added two more in the top of the third to stake debuting Kohei Arihara to an early 4-0 lead.
The Royals wouldn’t get on the board until the fifth which is one of the ways that things were different today. However, once KC got going, the Rangers had immense difficulty stemming the tide. By the end of the sixth inning, Texas trailed 10-4 and were on their way to an 0-2 start to their 2021 campaign.
It reads like Arihara fell apart but he was the victim of some defensive lapses in his trouble inning and ultimately finished his first start with a line of 5 IP, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K. The lack of strikeouts is as discouraging as the zero free passes issued is a positive and, at worst, you could say the Royals were beginning to figure Arihara out by the third time through the order.
Nevertheless, it was a positive debut for Arihara and something to build on for the Japanese import.
The bullpen, however, was once again a disaster. After Arihara left with a 4-3 lead through five innings, Josh Sborz came in and allowed three runs without getting anyone out and John King finished the sixth inning allowing four runs in a seven-run frame for the Royals.
The Rangers are basically working with a B bullpen as a ton of their A guys for relief were felled by injury in Arizona. With a team that is as bereft of overall talent as Texas, a quick and easy way to pile up losses is to have bullpen pour gasoline on a fire.
None of this comes at a surprise and, in terms of expectations, getting to tune in and see Joey Gallo blistering baseballs is sometimes going to be the best we’re going to get.
Player of the Game: Gallo’s first donger of the season was fun, at least.
Gallo is rocking a hilarious .600/.800/1.200 slash line and if there were ever a player whose opening weekend small sample size numbers could be absurd if he’s on, it’s Gallo. Enjoy him while he’s here.
Up Next: The Rangers close out the season-opening series in Kansas City looking to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Royals while still aiming for their first win the season. RHP Jordan Lyles will make the start for the Texas against RHP Brady Singer.
First pitch in the finale from Kauffman Stadium is scheduled for 1:10 pm CT.