Monday, March 31, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Phillies 14, Rangers 10
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was a strange Opening Day game as neither starter was on his game and the two teams combined for 24 runs on 31 hits as the Philadelphia Phillies took the lead in the fifth and held on for a 14-10 win over the Texas Rangers. Some quick reaction to the game:
Scheppers struggles: You know it's a crazy game when Tanner Scheppers can allow seven earned runs and get a no-decision. But that's what the 27-year-old right-hander did in four innings of work. He could not get his fastball down consistently and his two-seamer didn't have much movement. The Phillies took advantage with eight hits, including a grand slam home run for Jimmy Rollins, who flew into town late after being with his wife, who is due any day with the couple's second child. ... Scheppers' offense got him a 7-6 lead going into the fourth, but he couldn't hold it and gave up the tying run in that frame.
Lee allergic to Arlington?: Cliff Lee came into Monday's game with disappointing numbers at Globe Life Park. That's saying it kindly. He was 6-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 94 career innings (14 starts). And, of course, many of those came in a Rangers uniform in 2010. The trend certainly continued on Monday. He gave up eight earned runs in five innings on 11 hits. It was the first time Lee had surrendered eight earned runs since Aug. 21, 2010 pitching for Texas in Baltimore. That ties the most earned runs he's allowed in Arlington in his career. He also allowed eight runs in a start in 2004.
A rare walk: J.P. Arencibia drew a big walk in the second inning as the Rangers were attempting to come back from a 6-0 deficit early. Arencibia's patient, seven-pitch at-bat was an odd one, in that he had just 18 walks in 138 games last season. And Lee only walked 32 batters all of last season. But that walk helped Texas to a four-run inning to get back in the game.
Bottom of lineup: It was the bottom three hitters that produced in the second inning as the Rangers made a game of it. Arencibia, Leonys Martin and Josh Wilson were 5-for-8 with a walk and five RBIs.
Manager's pick: Ron Washington surprised many when he took Wilson to start at second base instead of Donnie Murphy, who was picked up off waivers near the end of spring and played well in all three exhibition games. But Washington wanted Wilson's defense and said that he gave Wilson the nod because he's been with the club since February. It paid off as Wilson had two hits and looked good in the field.
Debuts: Besides the debuts of Shin-Soo Choo -- who went hitless -- and Prince Fielder -- a single in his second at-bat -- it was also the debut of Pedro Figueroa. The reliever came in for the fifth inning and showed velocity, but little movement. The Phillies scored four runs (three of them earned) off Figueroa to get the lead back. They were able to keep it from there. ... Alexi Ogando made his 2014 debut and struggled, walking two batters in the sixth and allowing an inherited run and a few of his own. ... Seth Rosin made his big league debut in the ninth inning and gave up a shift-beating double, but also struck out Ryan Howard. He was the only Rangers pitcher to not allow a run.
Hall of Fame pitch: Greg Maddux threw out the ceremonial first pitch and then watched as the two starters combined for 15 earned runs. Maddux, by the way, allowed seven or more earned runs 27 times in his career.
Briefly: Elvis Andrus had a great opportunity to draw the Rangers closer in the seventh, batting with the bases loaded and two outs, but grounded into a force at second base. ... Mitch Moreland started the game as the DH despite a left-handed starter on the mound and was 0-for-3. Michael Choice did pinch-hit for him later and get a hit, his first in a Rangers uniform. ... Alex Rios was the only Rangers player to homer on Monday, hitting a three-run shot in the third to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 Rangers lead. Rios had 18 homers between Texas and Chicago last year.