Lance Lynn Makes Cactus League Debut; Rangers Fall to Angels 7-2

Chris Halicke

The Rangers fell to 3-4 in the Cactus League on Friday, losing to the Angels by a score of 7-2 at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Angels plated five runs in the bottom of the 6th inning, breaking a 2-2 tie. 

Rangers starter Lance Lynn made his spring debut in the game. He pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, two runs, one walk, and struck out three Angel hitters. He was slated to pitch three innings, but after 51 pitches, manager Chris Woodward took the ball from Lynn with two outs in the 3rd inning. 

Lynn had a rough first inning, which was where he allowed both of his runs to cross the plate. Angel hitters made Lynn throw 30 pitches in the first inning. He was able to settle down for the next 1 2/3 innings, throwing only 11 pitches in the 2nd inning, which included a Matt Duffy error at shortstop. Lynn retired Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani to start the 3rd inning, but after a Michael Hermosillo line drive barely cleared Lynn's head, Woodward decided Lynn had had enough. 

Being the first start of spring training, Lynn's outing is nothing to be alarmed about. This early in the spring, most starters just want to get out there and throw their pitches in a game setting against live batters. 

Lynn was the first of the Rangers' projected starters to get in a Cactus League game this spring. Offseason additions Corey Kluber and Kyle Gibson are scheduled to pitch on Sunday and Monday respectively. While it's still early in the spring, their outings will likely be short as well. 

Arguably, the most talked about competition in Rangers camp is at first base. Both candidates for the position, Ronald Guzman and Greg Bird, were in the lineup for today's game, with Guzman at first and Bird as the designated hitter. Bird went 0-for-3 with three groundouts to first base. Guzman went 1-for-3 with a hard line drive to right field for a single in his third at-bat. 

Bird has left some good impressions in Rangers camp so far, but has failed to collect a hit in 10 Cactus League at-bats. In a similar situation with not wanting to overreact to Rougned Odor's hot start this spring, this is a two-way street. Bird has had some good at-bats this spring, as well as some hard-hit balls, so don't let the 0-for-10 fool you. He has also shown pretty well with the glove so far. 

On the other side, Guzman made a couple of nice defensive plays at first base today. This is Guzman's calling card already, but he already looks in midseason form defensively. He has also had some hard-hit balls this spring, including today's single and an opposite-field double in the Cactus League opener against Kansas City. The competition at first base is far from over.

In regards to Ranger prospects, Anderson Tejeda showed very well defensively today from second base. He made a nice play to his left, fielding a grounder followed by a spin-and-throw to Guzman at first base. He also made a difficult adjustment to a blooper hit over his head and was able to snag it out of the air. He's gotten a good amount of action so far and I'd argue this was his best showing. 

The Rangers are back in action on Saturday, hosting the Chicago White Sox at Surprise Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM CT. 

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