Rangers' miscues mount in Arihara's debut

Righty labors after 4 scoreless frames; Lowe stays hot with 6 RBIs in 2 games

April 4th, 2021

Rangers catcher knows that in baseball, sometimes a team’s defense relies on the offense to pick it up and vice versa. But it was a sense of déjà vu for the Rangers on Saturday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. For the second game in a row, the defense and pitching were not able to back up the offense.

Just as it did on Opening Day, Texas took an early lead over the Royals mistakes allowed Kansas City to storm back to an 11-4 victory.

The Rangers’ offense once again produced enough to give the club a chance to win, with a two-run, 450-foot homer from in the first and a two-run, two-out single from in the third. Lowe's six RBIs are a club record for the team's first two games of the season.

The Royals’ comeback spoiled an MLB debut for , who got off to a hot start, facing just one over the minimum through three innings as the Rangers jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Kansas City came roaring back in the fifth. Arihara pitched four scoreless innings before giving up a leadoff homer to Michael A. Taylor, as the Royals scored three runs on four hits in the frame.

Arihara said his pitch selection wasn’t the best during the second and third times through the Royals’ order, and he wasn’t able to attack for first-pitch strikes as much, allowing the hitters to jump on top of him. He wants to work on finishing off the hitter even after he gets ahead in the count.

The Rangers’ bullpen, including Josh Sborz and John King, surrendered seven runs in the sixth. The ‘pen struggled with finding the strike zone all game as the Royals' offense feasted. Arihara said that he could have come back out in the sixth inning and he wanted to go longer if the coaches would have let him. Manager Chris Woodward said he contemplated bringing him back out in the sixth, but he wanted Arihara’s debut to end on a good note after he was hit around in the fifth.

While the defense didn’t have any errors in the book, a number of bobbles in the infield and balls lost in the sun in the outfield proved costly.

“I hate losing,” Woodward said. “I think everybody in that clubhouse hates losing. It is frustrating. Our starter gave us a chance to win a game, and what happened today can’t happen. I'm gonna keep saying it until we get it right. The free passes in that [sixth] inning set up the entire thing. We have to attack the strike zone.”

Trevino said the biggest issue for the pitchers was struggling to find the strike zone, especially in the seven-run sixth inning. Getting ahead of hitters and then putting them away later in the count has to be a vital emphasis for the pitching staff.

Woodward said the Rangers still have the same mentality as they had on Opening Day, and they’ll keep that going forward. Two tough outings doesn’t change the approach.

“The sky's not falling,” Woodward said. “There's going to be another team in baseball that's going to go 0-2. We want to win every game, but we're going to have the same dialogue. We're going to figure things out and have discussions as a group, figure out how to get better the next time.

“We obviously have to play better, we have to pitch better. But we have to learn from our mistakes and not make them again. I think that's the key to this whole thing. There's a long season for us to get 160 games. I'm not going to have panic and doom after only two games.”