Rapid Reaction: Rangers 9, Red Sox 5
April, 1, 2011
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Neftali Feliz finished off the game for the Rangers, a 9-5 win on Opening Day. Mike Napoli and David Murphy were two of the big heroes. Some quick thoughts on the game (more to come from the clubhouse):
|David Murphy dishes on his pinch-hit double that put the Rangers in front of the Red Sox for good.
* Mike Napoli sure came through on Opening Day. He was obtained because he can hit left-handed pitching. He sported a .305 average against lefties last year. He made manager Ron Washington look smart to put him in the lineup at first instead of Mitch Moreland. Napoli hit a home run with Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre on base, turning a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead in the fourth. The homer came off lefty Jon Lester, who gave up three homers on the day.
* Julio Borbon had issues in center field right from the start. On what should have been the first out of the game on a fly ball to right-center, Borbon didn't hear Nelson Cruz calling for the ball (Cruz also had his hand out to signal Borbon that he had it) and ran right into him. The ball dropped for a two-base error. C.J. Wilson got the next two outs, but Kevin Youkilis' double scored the run. Then Adrian Gonzalez got Youkilis home. So instead of the inning being over, the Red Sox got two runs.
* Borbon had defensive issues late in spring training and went into the season as a question mark. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to all this.
* The Rangers got the long ball going early. The second pitch seen by leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler was belted to left field. That made it 1-0. Nelson Cruz also homered to left, doing so on a 3-2 pitch in the second inning. That tied the score at the time.
* Napoli was called out for runner's interference after he ran on the inside of the box (down the line) but not on the grass. Normally, that call is made if the runner is on the grass. But Napoli was called out, ending a chance for more in the second.
* C.J. Wilson struggled with his command a bit in the third. After Jacoby Ellsbury doubled and Dustin Pedroia singled, Wilson got Carl Crawford swinging. But he walked Kevin Youkilis to load the bases and then threw some pitches well outside the zone to Adrain Gonzalez before forcing a 3-2 count. Wilson's cutter wasn't bad, but Gonzalez was able to drive it up the middle to score two runs. Gonzalez, a big acquisition for the Red Sox this offseason, made a big impact in the opener. (He also made a nice play on an overthrow by Youkilis to prevent Elvis Andrus from going to second in the first).
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireC.J. Wilson struggled a bit with his command, but he struck out new Red Sox slugger Carl Crawford twice.
* Wilson's off-speed stuff sure worked on Carl Crawford, who struck out twice against him.
* Wilson went 5 2/3 innings and gave up four runs (two earned) with two walks and six strikeouts. It wasn't a dominant performance, but if the Borbon error hadn't happened, I wonder whether that would have changed things some.
* Elvis Andrus had an RBI double with two outs in the eighth, scoring Murphy. He was on base three times in the opener.
|Rangers LHP C.J. Wilson talks about winning his first Opening Day start.
* Cruz sure had his timing down Friday. He hit much better the final two weeks of spring training, and that carried over to Opening Day. Besides the homer, Cruz had a single in the fourth and looked comfortable. The next question: Will he move up to fifth in the lineup and shift Michael Young back to sixth, or will Washington leave the lineup as it is?
* The Rangers had to go to the bullpen earlier than expected with Wilson at 109 pitches with two outs in the sixth (he walked Mike Cameron in the sixth to end his day). Mark Lowe came in and got Jarrod Saltalamacchia to ground out to end the inning.
* Kudos to Arthur Rhodes, whose wrist didn't appear to give him any issues in the seventh inning. He walked Jacoby Ellsbury with one out and then put him at second with a wild pitch. But he worked around it, getting Dustin Pedroia to fly out and Carl Crawford to strike out.
* Darren Oliver came in for the eighth and got the first two outs. But he left one up to David Ortiz, and "Big Papi" let it fly to deep center to tie the score at 5. Ortiz didn't hit his first homer last year until April 23. He hit only two homers off lefties last year.
* Former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush attended Friday's game in the owner's box with Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan and his wife, Ruth.
* MercyMe performed the national anthem, and Charlie Hough and Jeff Burroughs threw out the first pitches (no word on whether Hough threw a knuckler, but we can only hope).
* The video board made its presence felt with a nice 4-minute highlight package taking fans through the early years and then to the American League championship.
* The Saturday game will be on 660 AM, by the way, because ESPN Radio has the Mavericks.
* Nice change of pace on the dot race with legends of Texas running the race (Sam Houston was the big winner Friday).