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Thoughts on a 2-1 Rangers win

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Rangers 2, Jays 1

Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Rangers 2, Jays 1

  • Kyle Gibson pitched like a newt on Opening Day.
  • (A newt?)
  • He got better.
  • The story of today is Kyle Gibson, who, after a disappointing 2020, had been getting good reviews all spring, having added a cutter and supposedly fixed the issues he was having last year. And then he went out on Opening Day and retired one batter. That was bad.
  • But he got better. 6 shutout innings today, 6 hits, 1 walk and 8 Ks. And he needed only 82 pitches to do it. The only jam he got into was in the fifth, when a one out single-double-walk sequence loaded the bases. Gibson induced a 6-3 GIDP to get out of the inning, though, and that was that.
  • I was surprised that Gibson only went 82 pitches...I’d have figured that Chris Woodward would at least let him pitch the seventh, before going to Matt Bush and Ian Kennedy for the eighth and ninth. Woodward went to Josh Sborz for the seventh, however, and Sborz rewarded him with three ground balls for a quick inning.
  • Matt Bush pitched the eighth and gave up a home run to Marcus Semien, cutting the lead to 2-1. That’s three home runs allowed in three games for Bush. He probably needs to work on not giving up a homer each time he pitches. Maybe there’s some analytics for that.
  • It all worked out, though, as Ian Kennedy went K-K-walk-K in the ninth to close it out. The Sborz-Bush-Kennedy late inning shutdown, just like we all were hoping for this winter.
  • The offense didn’t do much today, but hey, the offense has been strong early on, and the Rangers didn’t need much from the bats today. Both runs scored in the second, one on a Nick Solak home run, one on an RBI single from Leody Taveras.
  • Nick Solak also got hit by a pitch today, in the eighth inning. That’s his fourth HBP on the season, so if it feels like he’s getting hit a lot, you’re feelings are facts. Solak is leading the majors in HBPs right now, after having only two HBPs all last year. In fact, the leading HBP guy last year for the Rangers was Derek Dietrich, with five. Joey Gallo had four, Todd Frazier had three, and everyone else had two or less.
  • Speaking of Derek Dietrich, we need a player on this team right now who will wear big chains out in the field. Someone get on that.
  • Nate Lowe didn’t get a hit today, or get hit by a pitch, or get a walk. He did steal a base, though, so that’s fun and unexpected of him. He’s now 2 for 2 in his major league career in steals.
  • Charlie Culberson and Jose Trevino each had two hits. Nobody on the Rangers drew a walk, in case you were wondering, or care.
  • Josh Sborz had the four fastest pitches of the night, ranging from 96.8 to 97.4 mph. I bet you didn’t know he could throw that hard. Matt Bush maxed out at 95.9, Kyle Gibson hit 95.6, and Ian Kennedy topped out at 95.4. That all seems fast to me.
  • Nick Solak’s home run had an exit velocity of 108.8 mph, the highest of a Ranger today. Charlie Culberson had a 103.7 (KVIL) mph double. Isiah Kiner-Falefa continues to tag the ball, hitting 101.4 on a lineout. Jose Trevino had a 101.1 single, and David Dahl and Eli White reached 100.4 and 100.2 mph EVs, respectively.
  • The Rangers win their first home series of the year, and head into tomorrow’s off day at .500. I’m going to enjoy this being a non-losing-record time now, while I can.