Funny how quickly you can go from panic mode to absolute joy in a matter of a few hours.
Behind a brilliant pitching performance from Robinson Tejeda, the Texas Rangers won their home opener on Friday afternoon against the Boston Red Sox 2-0.
Tejeda threw seven dazzling shutout innings, needing just 77 pitches to get that far. He only struck out one, but gave up just three hits and two walks. A whopping 16 of the 21 outs he recorded were fly balls, but that didn't mean he was struggling - far from it, in fact. A good number of those were harmless popouts. Robinson established his mid-90's fastball early and located his pitches well, keeping Boston off balance for the entire game. And when he did run into some small bouts of trouble in the later innings, Gerald Laird kept him on track. Simply an amazing performance, and one the Rangers desperately needed after the problems Millwood, Padilla and McCarthy had in Anaheim.
Joaquin Benoit came on in the 8th inning in the setup role, and pitched a shutout frame, much to the relief of everybody. After a one out walk brought the tying run to the plate, Ron Washington himself came out to the mound to talk to Joaquin. Whatever he said worked, as he retired Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz on harmless ground balls. Great signs. Aki Otsuka gave up a leadoff single in the 9th to Manny Ramirez, but retired the rest of the side in order to set the celebration in motion.
It is concerning that the Rangers' offense struggled yet again, with the club stringing together just three hits. One of their two runs came on a Sammy Sosa check swing bloop hit into right field in the 1st inning, while the other came on a Gerald Laird RBI single. However, it was enough on this day to win, and that's all that counts.
51,548 came out to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to witness Texas's home opening win, the second largest crowd in club history. They were not disappointed.
Now let's see if the Rangers can put together their first winning streak of the season.
Kevin Millwood will take on Julian Tavarez on Saturday night at 7:05 PM CST. Tavarez started six games at the end of 2006 for Boston, which was the first time he had started since the 2002 season. It should be a very interesting game - although not just for the pitching matchup. The weather forecast says it'll be 38 degrees at game time, with a 50% chance of rain/snow.
Thank the Lord for television.