Opening Day Blues

Andrus can now focus on playing his best. Photo Courtesy: Rick Leal
Andrus can now focus on playing his best. Photo Courtesy: Rick Leal

By Keysha Hogan

Ok, so MLB Opening Day kinda sucked. But there’s no need for alarm since there’s another 161 games left in the season. But really, losing to the Astros, who scrape the bottom of the American League and have a team payroll of around $24 million was a tough start for fans to swallow. (Fun Fact: A-Rod is up in New York pulling $29 million and probably won’t even play the first half of the season.) And for all of you Rangers fan, we know you’re suffering a headache from the braggy Facebook posts of your Houston friends, but hopefully things are just a work in progress.

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington has made it clear that achievement will sort out roles in the bullpen, and jobs won’t be handed out on anything other than merit. Over the next few weeks we’ll be watching to see which players rise to the occasion and carve out a solid place for themselves in the bullpen.

Further down the line, Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria will both be recovering from surgery and able to show strength in closing out the final innings. And a little long-term stability can be found with Elvis Andrus’ big 8 year deal for $120 million.

In the future shortstop Jurickson Profar will be moving up to the big leagues in Arlington. Last summer he was only the third teenager in major league history to hit a homer at his first at-bat. Right now he is right behind Andrus and Ian Kinsler so the GM sent him down to Round Rock for some Triple-A play and conditioning. And although Kinsler is coming off a tough year, he’s likely to stay around for awhile. So Andrus will be the long-term shortstop, Kinsler will likely play 2nd base and Profar will possibly slide into his spot in the future.

In the opening game, the Rangers ended the night with two runs on six hits. Lance Berkman and Nelson Cruz each had two and a single for both A.J. Pierzynski and David Murphy. Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland, Leonys Martin, Andrus and Kinsler combined to go 0-18 with only one walk and five strikeouts. There’s no nice way to say, that type of performance just won’t hold up for long.

As Rangers fans know, in recent years we’ve enjoyed a few years of strong starts. The team has stood at 44-29 before May 1st over the last three seasons. Later this week look for an interesting series against the Angels. CJ Wilson and Josh Hamilton have gone from blue to red, and surely there will be more than a few players on the field with something to prove.

At least we can all be glad the painfully long offseason is over. Some familiar faces have moved on, and I’m just relieved Nolan Ryan is sticking around for now. This shaky and undependable bullpen has their work cut out for them so they don’t turn a few close games into embarrassing blowouts. And this year I think we’ll bear witness to a steam struggling to find themselves after they lost a few leaders.