I woke up early Monday morning as anticipation filled the air. Opening day finally was here as I begin preparing for my 155 mile trip down to Arlington for my 37th season opener. My uncle and I left out of the brisk Oklahoma weather at 7:30. We stopped off in Denton for breakfast and arrived at the beautiful Rangers Ballpark in Arlington at 11:30.
There was a buzz in the air as fans piled into the stadium. We stopped on our way to the park to take a few pictures of the new Dallas Cowboy stadium going up next door. Once inside the stadium we walked around to check out some of the $4 million dollar upgrades added during the off season. The new video scoreboard on the left field wall, the ribbon boards in the infield, and the brick facing along the backstop. Everything looked spectacular! The sites and sounds of a new baseball season were minutes away.
B-2 bombers got things going with a flyover during the national anthem. Former U.S. and Rangers president George Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch to a thunderous ovation.
As for the game the Rangers hit the field in their new red uniforms which I have said before and will say again I do not like them. Can you say moving blood clots? Ranger starter Kevin Millwood was in command most of the afternoon. He faced the minimum through three innings. Cleveland’s only run came on a wild pitch as Millwood was running out of gas in the 7th. He ended up tossing 113 pitches allowing 5 hits, 1 walk, 1 ER, with 5 K’s in 7 innings of work. Relievers C.J. Wilson and Frankie Francisco finished up retiring the last six hitters of the game.
Offensively, the Rangers were all over Cliff Lee. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ian Kinsler tagged Lee with two, two out two run hits in the second. Hank Blalock added a three run blast in the fifth inning. Saltalamacchia hit a solo shot in the eighth which was followed by an RBI double from Michael Young plating Kinsler who had doubled before him.
In all the Rangers banged out 15 hits (10 against last year’s A.L. Cy Young). Chris Davis was the only player in the Rangers lineup not to collect at least one hit. Elvis Andrus hit a double in his first major league at bat in the 2nd inning.
Defensively, Andrus showed his speed and great range on a ball hit hard up the middle that looked like a sure hit. Elvis made the play look effortlessly and threw the runner out by half a step. Michael Young made a couple of nice plays at third base. He looked like he has played there his whole career.
For the Rangers to be successful this year they need to get their starting pitching deep into games to take the load off the bullpen. Play better defense and get off to a good start in the two two months of the season. So far so good.
My Three Stars:
April 8, 7:05 CT, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
CLE: Carmona (0-0, 0.00) vs.TEX: Padilla (0-0, 0.00)
The Rangers are now 19-19 in home openers since moving to Texas in 1972.
It turned out to be a great afternoon at the ballpark. I left sunburned and wore out but had a big smile on my face. We arrived back home in the Sooner state at 8:45. I watched a little of the A’s-Angels game and called it a night.
Baseball season is BACK!