Three Takeaways From Rangers 7-5 Win Over Mariners
PEORIA, Ariz. – The Texas Rangers defeated the Seattle Mariners to improve to 2-0 in Cactus League play.
Tim Federowicz led the way with three RBI's. He hit a two-run double in the second inning and then hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. Todd Frazier also had a solid day starting at second base, going 2-for-3 with a double in the fifth inning.
As custom with this time of year, we like to look at the storylines that can impact the roster. Today, there were three players that warranted a closer look in this victory over the Mariners.
Joe Palumbo's Strong Debut
Rangers pitching prospect Joe Palumbo started today's game, going two innings, with no hits, no runs, two walks, and two strikeouts. His first inning was especially impressive, striking out the first two batters he faced. He walked the first two batters of the second inning, but was able to bounce back with a fly out and then got J.P. Crawford to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
"I felt pretty good out there," Palumbo said. "I was on the same page as Federowicz, getting a feel for my pitches, but I think everything went pretty well."
Palumbo made his Major League debut in 2019, but struggled in four starts and seven overall appearances (0-3, 9.18 ERA, 1.74 WHIP). Despite the Rangers' upgrades to the rotation, Palumbo is still making a case for making the team. He told us he's put on some weight to help him sustain throughout the season.
"If you haven't heard, I've put on a bunch of weight, so I think that's going to help me out in the long run," Palumbo said. "Overall, I'm just refining all my pitches and taking it day by day...I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, but I am trying to make the team. I'm trying to leave the best impression I possibly can everyday."
Palumbo told us he's gained at least 20 pounds throughout the offseason, getting his weight up to 195 pounds.
He may or may not make the team out of camp. If he continues to impress, he could make himself Woodward's first choice if one of the slated starting five goes down with an injury.
Can We Please Get Some Luck for Greg Bird?!
Greg Bird made his Rangers debut and didn't disappoint. The box score doesn't look great (0-for-3), but he hit two balls extremely hard. The first was snagged by a diving Evan White at first base and the the second was caught by Mallex Smith at the wall in left-center field. Smith slammed into the wall to make the catch.
"Mallex is a good player. What are you going to do?" Bird said. "That's just how it goes."
For Bird, he was amped just to get back on the field.
"Good swings, good first day," Bird said with a smile. "It's just baseball. I loved it, I'm not going to lie."
Bird also made a nice defensive play the inning before he was pulled from the game. For manager Chris Woodward, he's definitely got his eye on Bird and what he can do with the glove, not just his bat.
"I was surprised with him defensively. I heard he was better than advertised, and that's true," Woodward said at his morning press conference. "He's really committed to his footwork, especially being a right-handed first baseman. He works hard at the position."
Bird is in camp to compete with Ronald Guzman for the starting job at first base. In his debut, Bird did not disappoint. This could easily become the competition to watch this spring.
Demarcus Evans Tight-Ropes His Way Out of the Ninth
There's a lot of hype around Demarcus Evans this spring. He's a big guy with a bigger smile. He's also got the praise of his manager, who claims Evans' stuff is "elite."
In his first outing of the spring, Evans struggled a bit. He came in to close out the game in the ninth inning, but allowed two hard-hit singles to left field to start off the inning. He was able to settle down and get the next batter to pop out and then struck out the following guy on a 3-2 fastball.
Evans walked Jarred Kelenic to load the bases with two outs, but was able to strike out Cal Raleigh looking on a curveball.
The main thing with Evans is his consistency to mix his fastball and curveball and be able to throw both for strikes. He pounds the strike zone, but he's got to be able to keep hitters off balance. On the mental side, him tight-roping out of danger today is a very good thing for a young pitcher, even if it is just spring training.
Evans is one of many arms trying to earn a spot in the Rangers bullpen when they break camp at the end of March. For his debut, he's off to a good start.
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