Come on, Boston. Are you even trying?
After spending much of the off season listening to the predicted impending doom of the Texas Rangers because of an unhappy team leader, unsigned playoff ace, and an unsatisfying conclusion to the closer conundrum, it is satisfying to witness what happens when everything goes right. Perhaps the rumors of the mediocrity of the American League Champions were, at least, slightly exaggerated.
The Rangers swept the Boston Red Sox while outscoring them 26 to 11. The Rangers outhit the Red Sox 34 to 20. The Rangers out dong'd the Red Sox 11 to 3. Ian Kinsler himself had as many home runs as the Red Sox team. Nelson Cruz had as many home runs as the Red Sox team. The Rangers pitchers allowed as many walks as the Red Sox (10 to 10) but struck out twice as many: 24 to Boston's 12. In every way, the Rangers beat the Red Sox and they did so in such a convincing fashion that it's hard to not let your mind wander to hyperbolic thoughts.
It's almost silly to write that. It was only three games. If you sample just three consecutive games randomly during a season you're sure to see comparable instances of domination such as this. But what a three games! And the fact that it begins the year, against such a formidable opponent, just leads a mind to wander to places rational thinking shouldn't venture.
And yet, what if? What if this is the Rangers? Not the God-would-scoff home run rate and world-consuming offensive juggernaut, but what if this is a great team where we might have thought this was merely a good team before this season began? Also, while celebrating future success based on only three games isn't particularly wise, it is fun to have this year begin 3-0 against the team that came to town with the intentions of letting the Rangers know they would be back in October for the crown only to have them kiss the rings.
Of course, it didn't begin with this narrative. Instead, on the first batted ball of the season, Julio Borbon ran into Nelson Cruz as Cruz camped under the ball in right field causing a first-play two-base error. Spring Training was filled with near daily concerns about Borbon's defense in center and about his mental fortitude. And then, just before Opening Day, the drums in the local media really began to beat for Josh Hamilton to return to playing center while allowing David Murphy to start in left. So, given all of the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing, there probably wasn't a more appropriate way for the season to begin. While it was no laughing matter, it was hard to not see the humor in the situation.
Perhaps the other big gripe from we fans in the early going was Ron Washington's lineup maneuvering. Be it Elvis in the 2-hole, Nelson Cruz hitting behind Michael Young, or concerns that Mike Napoli wouldn't start against a tough lefty on Opening Day, we found ways to complain about everything. For what it's worth, Ron Washington appeared to deftly utilize his lineup and short bench extremely well in this series (With the exception of his continued insistence on trying to send messages to Nelson Cruz. Just stop it, Ron. He's your third best player.). Of course, it's easy to look good when everyone on the team is hitting out of their minds.
The Rangers newest acquisitions this off season at catcher, third, and first base have begun the season hitting a combined .333 with 8 runs scored, 10 RBI, and 4 home runs.
And yet, the best news of the weekend was probably the fact that Matt Harrison pitched as the Rangers #3 starter while having the results of a #1 starter and the stuff of an ace. If this is the devilish work of book learning that we have been led to believe, then I hope the Rangers signed Derek Holland up for a library card because I have my suspicions as to whether or not he's ever stepped foot into his local library.
Elvis Andrus had 18 extra base hits all season in 2010. Elvis Andrus already has 3 extra base hits in his first two games of this season.
So what did the Rangers learn against the Boston Red Sox? It's good to be the king.