It’s only one game in February that doesn’t count in the standings. That’s probably what manager Ron Washington told his crew after a pretty poor performance Friday afternoon in a Texas Rangers’ Spring Training contest against the Kansas City Royals.
Starter Alexi Ogondo pitched mostly from behind in his two innings of work, which is probably why he gave up four runs (two of them earned). Ogondo was on the disabled list twice last year, but claims he feels fine now. Forty-two-year-old Jose Contreras, a non-roster invitee fighting for a roster spot, looked even worse in his one inning of work (six runs, four earned).
On the plus side, Matt West almost touched 90-mph on his fastball in his one inning of work, which is a pretty good start to the spring. And none of the first three guys handed out a base-on-balls, which is another good sign. In another positive development, the team began selling Russell Wilson jerseys, so let the speculation begin.
It may sound trite, but Spring Training isn’t really about the score. Things went badly today, but if Ogondo can just get his head right and get ahead of the hitters, everyone will get on the right track. The fact that the Royals retired the first 10 batters they faced caused things to snowball. Baseball is a game of firsts: the first run, the first out and the first strike are all very important. Once everyone starts to remember that, the team should be fine.