2023 Season Record: 3-0
2023 series record: 1-0
Where do we even begin? To play small sample size predictions, this season is going to be endlessly fun and entertaining to watch. And considering they swept the reigning National League Champions, I think we are well within our rights to be excited for this season.
That reason among many others.
Like having a legit manager. (No offense to the likes of Jeff Banister and Chris Woodward but Bruce Bochy being a tried and true, seasoned MLB manager is so refreshing._
The Rangers winning their first three games of a season hasn’t happened since the 2011 season, when they started out with a six-game winning streak.
So let’s recap those three games shall we?
GAME ONE- 11-7 Win
Jacob deGrom made his Rangers debut and thankfully it went way better than when Corey Kluber made his. The first batter he faced struck out on three pitches and he struck out the third batter with a 101 mph fastball.
His final line was 3.1 innings with seven strikeouts and gave up five runs on six hits. All of the hits were extra base which includes back to back triples to start the third.
The slowest FB deGrom threw yesterday was 96.2mph. He topped out at 101.0 and sat 98.5. The Phillies swing at a total of 12 of his SLs and completely missed 5 of them. Man is the cream of the crop.— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) March 31, 2023
The Rangers bats however, started very cold... at least the first time through the order. Going into the fourth inning they were being no-hit but that quickly changed when the Rangers loaded the bases thanks to a Corey Seager and Adolis Garcia each hitting a single, with a Nathaniel Lowe groundout in-between, and a Jung walk. With one out, Jonah Heim hit a 2-run double.
That was just the beginning.
Robbie Grossman then came in to hit a three-run jimmy jack!
Now the Rangers of the past? They’d be done scoring there and probably get a couple quick ground outs and move on to the 5th with a tied score of 5-5.
Which is exactly what I expected when Brad Miller came up and grounded out.
But this is the 2023 Rangers. So they decided to load the bases again, this time with two outs.
Now I know what you’re thinking, double play right?
Nope! Instead a comedy of errors, not made by the Rangers! Lowe hits a swinging bunt and Josh Smith scores. Then Marcus Semien scores on a passed ball. Then Garcia comes back up and hits a long 2-run single (gets called out at second trying to stretch it) and the Rangers go from being no-hit and down 5-0 to up 9-5.
And not only do they hold the lead, they tack on two more runs thanks to a Brad Miller 2-run homer in the 5th.
From 2009 to 2013, the Rangers had won all of their home openers. From 2014, when they also opened their season against the Phillies, they had only won 2016 and 2020.
GAME TWO- 16-3 Win
I will be completely honest and tell you, I didn’t see any of this game except top of the 9th because I was working.
But maybe the fact that the Rangers faced the first position play pitcher of the season in Game 2 of the season, tells you everything?
Most runs scored through 2 games in MLB history (dating back to 1901)— Jared Sandler (@JaredSandler) April 1, 2023
30--Chicago (AL), 1951
27--Milwaukee, 1978 & 1980
GAME THREE- 2-1 Win
Sunday’s game was considerably more quiet than the first two. Martin Perez had a long first inning of 26 pitches but then came out for the 2nd innning and needed just 8 pitches.
Perez went 5.2 innings and gave up just the one run on eight hits and three walks and struck out seven.
And here is where the star of the show really shined, Bruce Bochy. Brock Burke came in with two on and two outs, with one pitch he got the pop up and ended the inning.
Brock comes in for the 7th, gets Trea Turner to fly out then Kyle Schwarber singles. No worries, Bochy brings in Jonathan Hernandez with one on and two outs, with one pitch he got the double play and ended the inning.
Now top of the 8th and Bochy makes some defensive moves including to move Garcia to right field and Grossman out of right and to left. This ends up being a literal game changer because it prevented the Phillies from having their own game changer.
He made a catch in right field that Grossman definitely wouldn’t have made, and saved an one out extra base hit.
Will Smith went on to make his Rangers debut in the 9th with a solid clean inning of 15 pitches, three up, three down.
The biggest takeaway I have from this series is that the Rangers have a good team and just as, if not more, importantly, they have a manager who knows how to utilize that team to get productivity from it.
I’ve learned coaches and managers are different. Both are excellent, but few are both. Wash is a great coach, but not a world class manager. Bochy probably can’t coach, but he can manage. It’s nuanced, but an important distinction. https://t.co/TQekOgxi0I— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) April 3, 2023