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Opening Weekend Recap: Early Leads and Tough Losses

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The short opening week of the Rangers season started bad, ended better

Texas Rangers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Season record: 1-2

Week 1 record: 1-2

Series record: 0-1

The Rangers offense is alive and well. The same cannot be said for pitching, aside from Jordan Lyles.

Texas started off hot on Opening Day, scoring five runs before Kyle Gibson could take the mound. That lead didn’t last long as Gibson quickly gave up five more, unable to make it out of the first inning. In his third inning of work Gibson gave up five runs on four hits and three walks which made room for a bullpen game. Not how you want to start the season, especially when the bullpen itself is limping it’s way to the starting line.

Something that stood out, that didn’t seem to happen all that often last season or the season before, the offense didn’t quit after those five runs. Granted they still loss 14-10, however there have been plenty of games in recent history where once the Rangers were down, the offense was silent. Even though it’s just three games into a 162 game season, it’s encouraging to see the Rangers not only score early but continue to do so throughout the game and not just lean on the early lead.

I think if they had the pitchers mentioned above, the Rangers might have had the real opportunity to open the season with a series sweep.

Aside from the pleasant surprise of the offense, I think the performance of Jordan Lyles on Sunday was unexpected. He was supposed to be a tandem pitcher, an 80 pitch limit. I think the expectation was to get him through three innings maybe four, instead they got 5.2 innings.

Tandem be damned.

He looked a lot sharper than I think anyone expected, especially since his bad season last year, averaging just 12 pitches in each of the first three innings and a six pitch fourth, it’ll be interesting to see if he can bring this into his next start against a tougher team in the San Diego Padres (the rotation lining up to give him the Saturday evening start at the moment.)

Lyles gave up just two runs on five hits and walked none. In fact Lyles, Wes Benjamin, and Ian Kennedy kept the Royals walk-less for the game.

THE HOME OPENER

The Rangers are in Arlington to open the season at home, they’ll be here for a quick six game homestand before heading to the reigning American League champions.

Today’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays will start at 3:05 P.M. CDT with RHP Mike Foltynewicz making the start. He made just one start last year before the Atlanta Braves DFA’d him. He had given up six runs on four hits and four walks in 3.1 innings of work. In his career, he’s faced the Blue Jays five times and made four starts. He’s 3-0 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He most recently faced them twice in 2019.

Steven Matz will start for Toronto. He had a 9.68 ERA last season in nine games and 1.70 WHIP. He has never faced the Rangers.

Tuesday’s game will be the Rangers first night game of the season. RHP Dane Dunning, who was traded here for Lance Lynn, will make his Texas Rangers debut, he is one of their other tandem pitchers (maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll work out like Lyles experience did?) He made his MLB debut last season for the White Sox. In seven starts, he went 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 34 innings.

RHP Tanner Roark will take the mound for Toronto. He posted the worst ERA of his career last season at 6.80 in 11 starts and 47. 2 innings. He’s faced Texas just four times, he’s 0-4 in those starts with a 3.91 ERA and 1.61 WHIP.

Closing out the series on Wednesday evening before the Rangers get their second off day of the season, Kyle Gibson looks for redemption. He’s made nine starts in his career against the Blue Jays, going 4-1 with a 4.61 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 52.2 innings. Most recently he faced them twice in 2019, going 1-0 and giving up five runs on six hits and four walks in those 11.1 innings.

Finally, the Rangers will face RHP Hyun Jin Ryu for the first time in his career. The Blue Jays Opening Day starter went 5.1 innings against the Yankees, and gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in his no-decision.