It wasn’t as pretty the second time around, but a win is a win. The Rangers came out on top 8-5 Monday, led by Marlon Byrd and Elvis Andrus. Monday’s game went about as well as could be expected, with Kevin Millwood throwing 7.0 IP, 1 ER after a slow start. Better yet, the Rangers’ offense tagged former AL Cy Young Winner Cliff Lee. One problem for the 2008 Rangers was their ability to hit the top lefty aces in the league. Lee gave up 7 ER across 5 IP. Quite impressive considering Lee finished the year with a 2.54 ERA, logged 223 innings and 170 strike outs last season. Millwood pitched like a true ace, shutting down the talented Indians lineup with the only earned run a result of a wild pitch.
The defense is decent but still struggles with errors. Elvis and Ian should shake off the rust, but its still a reminder that the defense is still young and rather error-prone. Bullpen management is already an issue with C.J. Wilson and Frankie Francisco both pitching despite big leads. Warner Madrigal is still unproven. A player that should figure into the bullpen situation, sooner rather than later, is Pedro Strop. Strop was claimed by Texas after being designated for assignment by Colorado. Fighting back from a stress fracture in his elbow, Strop is a converted position player from the Rockies system. Don’t be surprised to see him arrive in Arlington soon.
Kris Benson had a bad start, no real surprise there and the Rangers get stifled by former prospect Armando Galarraga struck out 8 over seven innings in the 15-2 rout. While things didn’t look good yesterday, remember this: The Rangers are the last American League team to lose their first game. First pitch for Saturday’s game in Detroit at 1:05 CST.
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Written by Brian Hutton