Hello everybody, from The Ballpark With the New Name. We're here at Rangers Opening Day, and will be documenting the thrills, the spills, and the silliness. Apologies for any mistakes - your live blogger is British, and thus totally unfit to document America's national pastime, no matter how much he might love the sport.
16:45 And there we have it. What a ridiculous game. Cliff Lee somehow picks up the win, Arlington is drenched in glorious sunshine, and despite everyone here skipping work they're still going to get caught in rush hour. They have, however, traded their employment for twenty-four runs. That should make up for the 1-0s for the rest of the season. Thanks for reading.
16:40 Rosin is the pitcher we've been waiting for all game. Get him in the rotation, Wash. He sits the Phillies down, and we go to a final inning with the Rangers needing 4 to tie and send this craziest of games into extra innings. Never say never, even to a 14-14 tie. Even though Papelbon just came out onto the mound for the Phillies.
16:30 Rangers get sat down in order, and we go to the 9th. The ballpark is pretty empty, just as an attendance of 49,000+ is announced. To calm things down on the run-conceding front, the Rangers bring in Seth Rosin to make his MLB debut. Good luck out there, Seth. It's a pitching massacre, and not even more cowbell can save you now.
16:20 Another home run for Philadelphia. At a rough count, that makes 2871801957 home runs for Philadelphia, which is an opening day record. Troll Tolleson is having a hell of a time, and Tony Gwynn Jr, making his MLB debut, appears to just be a straight-up reincarnation of Tony Gwynn.
Here in Arlington, we're through 7 innings and have these totals: 23 runs, 29 hits, 6 pitchers, 304 pitches. Back to you, Walter.— Richard Justice (@richardjustice) March 31, 2014
16:12 The red Ozarka dot was the winner of the race, in the cleanest dot race that's even been run at Rangers stadium. Troll Tolleson in to pitch for the Rangers at the top of the 8th, who loaded the bases in the last inning only for Andrus to ground it.
16:10 Guys. You guys. The new pitcher for the Phillies is called Antonio Bastardo. He sounds like the villain in a terrible romance novel. I wish him every success in life.
16:05 THIS IS GETTING PRETTY SILLY NOW OKAY MAYBE SOMEONE SHOULD PITCH
16:00 Arencibia, whose name sounds like an expensive pasta dish, bats in a run off hitting into a double-play, which is the worst way to hit a run ever. A solemn voice in the press box announces "No RBI." You can tell they're a little bit mad about that one.
15:50 Everything's calmed down a little. We're all taking a breather. There's been twenty-one runs, after all. It's been a pitching duel of sorts, in the sense that it's a contest to see who can shit the bed the least. If we'd carried on with the pace of the second inning, it would be about 114-112 by now, and everyone's stats for the rest of the season would have been skewed. Beltre is on at first after drawing a walk.
15:40 Diekman sits them down in order, so all the Rangers pitching staff have to do now is work with a five-run deficit and wait for the bats to fire. Right guys? Guys? Am I right? It's very quiet up here.
15:30 Another two score off a single. It's now 13-8 and the Rangers aren't waving, they're drowning. At least the sun is out, right guys? Diekman replaces Lee on the mound for Philadelphia.
On one end of the spectrum: Phillies 13, Rangers 8 in the 6th. On the other: Cubs 0, Pirates 0 in the 10th.— ESPN Zone Anaheim (@ESPNZoneAnaheim) March 31, 2014
That's a new #Rangers record for runs allowed in an Opening Day game. It's 13-8. Still a one-possession game, however.— Richard Durrett (@espn_durrett) March 31, 2014
trying to follow this phillies game. it appears we are not only winning, but have 13 runs. are the rangers very bad or— ✨jake (@gxbberish) March 31, 2014
15:25 A single looks to load the bases, but instead an error from Andrus, distracted by the magnificence of his own beard, means that a run scores and Elvis looks silly. Well, only so silly. His beard is still excellent.
15:15 Byrd, who has looked pretty dangerous all game, smashes another home run over the left-field wall as an improbable game takes another improbable turn. The score is 10-8. The Phillies are starting to pull away, soaring like a Byrd. Sorry. Alexi Ogando steps in for the Rangers.
15:10 Leonys Martin smashes home another run, and the stadium rocks to the underrated tones of The Vengaboy's "The Vengabus Is Coming." In a mixing job which could best be described as "brutal," the Vengaboys is mixed into the theme tune to True Detective a series that doesn't really show Texas in the best light (unless you count biker bars that play the Melvins and Primus, which is actually the best possible light, thinking about it). The Phillies bullpen is finally on its feet.
15:01 THE STARS AT NIGHT ARE BIG AND BRIGHT CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
9-7 in the middle of the fifth. CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP.
15:00 Figueroa is making Scheppers look like, well, Yu Darvish, and has given up two runs for one out so far in the 5th. At this rate, we could all be at the ballpark until tomorrow's game starts.
14:45 Rangers leave a couple stranded, and it looks like that's it for Scheppers on a no-decision. Pedro Figueroa comes in. RHCS can't have enjoyed his first start, even if the Phillies are a relatively terrifying team to have your first start against. He'll improve, but once all the pitchers are fit, he won't make it back to the rotation unless he tightens up. Seven earned runs in four innings. David Murphy, that tiny-armed one inning pitcher, must be eyeing up the gaps in the Rangers rotation with envy.
14:35 Just as Scheppers looks like he might fly through an inning, a single that just evades Josh Wilson's glove scores a runner, and we're tied up again. Seriously though, RHCS is looking great. A couple of strike-outs in the inning have been killer, especially the last ball to Rollins, which practically had "VENGEANCE" scrawled all over it in Sharpie. Howard strikes a monster single to right field, and the bullpen is warming up again. To be fair, Scheppers has just hit 90 pitches. In the 4th. He gets out the inning with no further scarring, but will he be back for the 5th?14:30
At least Scheppers is winning the ERA battle... 18 vs 23 #Scheppy— Leigh Sperberg (@lsperberg) March 31, 2014
14:20 Cliff Lee, who hasn't conceded this many runs since MySpace was a thing, gets out the inning on a nice bit of fielding from a grounder. GO RANGERS! Who had 7-6 in the score sweepstakes? Anyone? Either way, 50% off from a well-known pizza chain tomorrow. One of my favorite facts is that they run the same offer in Houston, but any time the Astros win, rather than score seven runs.
14:15 Fielder and Beltre double, and Alex Rios steps up and POUNDS IT OVER THE WALL IN CENTER FIELD RANGERS LEAD 7-6 IF I HAD TO RATE THIS GAME SO FAR I WOULD RATE IT "HIGHLY IMPROBABLE"
The worrisome bottom of the Rangers order doing quite well early. Yes, I said worrisome bottom.#4TheRangers— Mike Doocy (@MikeDoocyFox4) March 31, 2014
Scheppers gets out the inning with no further damage. Not even a close call. We always believed in you, Scheppers. The ballpark, a delightful sea of red, white, and blue for reasons that aren't even particularly patriotic, streams to the concession stand. Ten runs in an inning means that this is a crowd in need of a stiff, $8 drink.
14:05 Deep breaths. Red Hot Chili Scheppers is back out on the mound, and suddenly the gap is only two, which doesn't sound too bad at all. Two men on already though, and Scheppers has gone through 59. As I type that, the 60th is a wild pitch, advancing the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Come on RHCS. Texas is behind you, because God knows everyone gave up on the Astros.
14:00 JOSH WILSON DRIVES HOME THREE RUNS ON A DOUBLE SOMEHOW WHICH DOESN'T EVEN SOUND POSSIBLE BUT IT DID REALLY HAPPEN AND THIS GAME IS PRETTY EXCITING RIGHT NOW, TEXAS
13:55 The bases are loaded. The organ player is organing. There is a recording of a trumpet. All of these things are conspiring to produce quite the atmosphere here, even though the organ player must be tempted to break into something a bit more downbeat when six runs behind. Leonys Martin, possible inspired by the incident earlier in the tunnel when I was lost and proceeded to stand in front of him for some time while he looked confused, drives in a run AND YOUR 2014 TEXAS RANGERS ARE ON THE BOARD!
13:50 Rios gets a single and all. THE COMEBACK TRAIN IS PULLING INTO THE STATION, PHILADELPHIA. Mitch "The Bitch" Moreland, a man nobody dreamed would be a DH but nevertheless posses a delightful beard, flies out to center-field, advancing Big Ade to third.
Rangers fans are not taking the early performance well.
13:45 Beltre, no doubt gifted strength by the re-introduction of the Beltre Buster to the concessions stand, smashes a double into center-field, and if the Rangers are ever going to score six runs off Cliff Lee, then that's not a bad way to start.
13:40 After Scheppers walks Howard at the start of the inning, Cody Asche smashes a grounder just fair inside third to score him. Scheppers then walks Gwynn to load the bases, and Revere obliges him by hitting a single up the center to score another run. Jimmy Rollins steps up and smashes a grand slam, the 200th home run of his career, over the left-field wall. His brother Henry would have been proud. Six runs for the Phillies in the second inning, and Scheppers gets the out to end the inning. A 38-pitch inning. The bullpen is already active.
13:25 Choo nearly smashed it out the back over the fence at center field on his first at-bat as a Ranger, but it falls juuuust short into the fielder's waiting glove. Cliff Lee on the mound for the Phillies, of course.
Elvis Andrus' beard this season is amazing. It's genuinely incredible. It might be able to power the Rangers to the play-offs simply through its own amazingness. He grounds out to third, though. The beard needs some bedding-in time.
Prince Fielder, on his first ever Rangers at bat, doesn't make it either, and the first inning ends scoreless and hitless.
13:15 Killer nine-pitch opening inning for Scheppers, who gets them out in order.
So, Unfair Parkers, how do we feel about the Rangers prospects this season? There's been a lot of hand-wringing over the pitching rotation, but if injury return predictions are correct, we should see a fully operational rotation by the end of April.
Scheppers just threw out the first pitch for a ball. The weather is beautiful. Baseball is back. It's game on.
13:00 So far a bunch of airplanes have flown over, and there is a flag the size of the outfield on, well, the outfield.
Here's the Opening Day line-up for YOUR 2014 TEXAS RANGERS:
LF Shin-Soo Choo SS Elvis Andrus 1B Prince Fielder 3B Adrian Beltre RF Alex Rios DH Mitch Moreland C J.P. Arencibia CF Leonys Martin 2B Josh Wilson P Tanner Scheppers
Please refer to Grubes' solid gold nicknaming system for proper reference.