Let’s not forget, the Texas Rangers are the real reigning National League champions. After all, they swept the Philadelphia Phillies twice in two, two-game series last season to go undefeated against Philly. Transitive property, baby! The Phillies might have claimed the Warren C. Giles Trophy in October, but they never beat the 2022 Texas Rangers!
And they have not beaten them in 2023, either.
The Jacob deGrom debut was the headliner with Aaron Nola expected to duel him in what was seen as one of the best matchups of today’s Opening Day slate.
Instead, deGrom gave up the most extra base hits of any start of his career (three doubles, two triples, and a home run), as he allowed five runs in 3 2⁄3 innings and it appeared we were well on our way to familiar Opening Day tears.
Meanwhile, Nola was holding up his end of the bargain as, after the first three innings, the Rangers had been held hitless.
Corey Seager collected Texas’ first hit of the season to lead off the fourth and that proved opportune as before the Phillies retired the side, the Rangers would score more runs (9) in the inning than in any single inning that they mustered over the entirety of the 2022 season.
Suddenly up 9-5, the Texas bullpen ultimately held up through their extended work as a quartet of Cole Ragans, Brock Burke, Jonathan Hernandez, and Jose Leclerc combined to allowed two runs on six hits with six Ks in 5 1⁄3 innings of work. A lot could potentially be asked of the Texas bullpen this season and they passed this first test.
After the Phillies scored again to make it 9-6, Brad Miller hit a two-run dong to give Texas their 11th run of the day. Another run from Philadelphia in the top of the seventh would be their 7th and final run for the 11-7 final score.
Also, the debut under the new rules with Rob Manfred in the building ironically took over three hours to complete.
It wasn’t the low-scoring deGrom victory that everyone was dreaming of this winter, but the Rangers are 1-0 in 2023 with a bludgeoning from the bats under their belts.
Player of the Game: Robbie Grossman had a devil of a time in right field on a plethora of doinks down the line when deGrom was still in the game but he made up for it by blasting the three-run dong that turned a 5-2 game into a tied contest before the Rangers turned it on to complete their 9-run outburst in the fourth.
pic.twitter.com/m9LBgiYZfG— MLB Updates (@MLBNews1234) March 30, 2023
Robbie Grossman hits a 3-run shot (1) to tie the game at 5-5.
This was basically the only positive thing Grossman did all afternoon but it was perhaps the biggest swing of the game.
Up Next: Because baseball seasons are weird, the Rangers have tomorrow off but will pick things back up for the second game of this series on Saturday with RHP Nathan Eovaldi set to make his Rangers debut against RHP Zack Wheeler for Philadelphia.
Saturday’s first pitch from The Shed is scheduled for 3:05 pm CDT and will be televised to a national audience on FOX.