The evening started off with the first Major League start for the Rangers prized off-season acquisition Yu Darvish. There was a massive amount of anticipation from both the media and the Rangers fans. The stadium was buzzing as Yu ran from the dugout to the mound in the first inning to a rousing standing ovation, something I’ve never seen before in my many years of Rangers fandom. There were Darvish jerseys scattered all over the crowd of 42,003. Believe it or not, the actual pitching wasn’t nearly important. Darvish would get off to a very rough start fueled by a combination of nerves and adrenaline and then settle down for a respectable 5 2/3 inning outing. He did what every Ranger pitcher is expected to do, he kept his team in the game long enough to let the offense do what it does. Last night was the beginning of what could be a very long and special career for the talented righty. He struggled, he battled, he got the support he needed from his teammates. It was a special atmosphere last night and Scott and I were pumped to be there.
The Rangers didn’t let the buzz of a Yu Darvish start linger long as they replaced it with the excitement of the news of an Ian Kinsler extension. The details of the deal as reported by several Dallas/Fort Worth newspaper writers are five years and 75 million with a club option. We’ve been teased with the possibility of an extension for the past couple of weeks and it looked like hope was lost when opening day arrived with no deal. The Rangers front office continued to work with Kinsler’s agent while the season began and got it done. The deal is a rare example of where it’s really good for both sides and I think that will be even more evident when the Yankees finalize and announce the extension for their second baseman Robinson Cano who I would imagine will sign a deal worth 18-20 million dollars a year. Kinsler is truly a commodity as a 30-year-old (he turns 30 in June) with the potential to have a 30 home run and 30 stolen base season every year. Even more than home runs or stolen bases, Kinsler has become a team leader and that was never more evident than last night. After his young pitcher struggled through a 42 pitch first inning he came in as the leadoff hitter. Instead of swinging at a very hittable 2-0 pitch straight down the middle, he took. He knew that he had to give his pitcher a chance to catch his breath, a chance to decompress. Kinsler took and worked a walk that would start a bounce back inning for the Rangers cutting the lead in half. That is baseball IQ.
Congrats Ian, well deserved. Can I borrow some money?
- The offense appears to be clicking. Josh Hamilton hit his second home run of the season last night and brought his average to .500
- Kinsler hit another home run. Ho hum.
- Nelly Cruz seems to be getting his timing back. He looked lost at the plate at time during the first three games but last night looked like the Nelly of old. Even making a nice defensive play in right field. Wish he could have done that in game 6 last year. Sorry…still bitter.
- Fun game tonight as Neftali Feliz starts his career as a starting pitcher against former Rangers prospect Blake Beavan.