The final score looked more like a low-scoring football game as the Philadelphia Phillies topped the Texas Rangers 14-10 in Arlington on Opening Day in front of nearly 50,000 fans. That final tally also looks funny considering Texas won almost 20 more games than Philly in 2013 and the box score is definitely not a usual one, even for Opening Day. However, there were bright spots for the Rangers in the loss and it’s just one game; fans of the home team have no reason to panic.
First of all, the Rangers put up 10 runs in their first game of the season without starting second baseman Jurickson Profar and all that offense came mostly from batters near the bottom of the order. Any time your MLB team puts up 10 runs, you’ve got to be happy, especially when it’s not because of your high-priced bats.
That is especially true when the young pitcher who took the mound on Opening Day for your team had never previously started a big-league contest. Sure, Tanner Scheppers lit up batters all spring long, but Opening Day is a tough test for a third-year pro with no starting experience. Thus, the eight hits and seven earned runs he allowed in four innings shouldn’t be a concern unless he duplicates that stat line two or three times in a row when he’s no longer the ace by default.
On the bright side from the mound, rookie reliever Seth Rosin did not allow a run while giving up one hit and striking out one in the ninth, his only inning. Typically he won’t be pitching with a four-run deficit because the Rangers are going to put a lot of runs on the board this year, just like they did on Monday afternoon.
Sticking with unlikely heroes, it’s important to note that Texas recorded nine RBIs and six of those came from the seven-, eight- and nine-hole hitters, including a pinch hitter. If those unheralded players put up half of that offensive production on average this year, the Rangers could see double digits in the run column a lot when big-money guys like Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo are swinging the bat well.
In short, it was a learning experience for a lot of the Rangers’ younger, more in-experienced players and Texas isn’t going to give up 14 runs very often, especially when hard-throwing hurlers Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison are all healthy. At that time, it will be a lot easer for youngsters like Scheppers to find their groove without the pressure of playing on Opening Day without their top three pitchers. There were a lot of positives from this loss and the Rangers have 161 games off which to build. Folks in Arlington should be excited, not nervous.