Three Takeaways From Texas Rangers 13-1 Rout of Chicago Cubs
The Texas Rangers scored a baker's dozen against the Cubs at Surprise Stadium on Thursday, routing the Cubs by a score of 13-1. They improved their Cactus League record to 3-3.
The Rangers hit four home runs today: a solo shot (Nick Ciuffo), a two-run homer (Isiah Kiner-Falefa), a three-run homer (Andy Ibanez), and a grand slam (Rougned Odor). Rangers batters reached base 20 times (14 hits, 6 walks) and scored seven runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, putting the game well out of reach.
Rangers pitchers also performed well, only allowing nine Cubs batters to reach base safely (6 hits, 3 walks). The lone run of the game was charged to Luis Garcia in the 4th inning.
There's quite a bit to unpack from this game, but I wanted to take a closer look at three things from this game that could impact Opening Day roster decisions.
Rougned Odor Is On Fire
It's only three games, so we're not getting carried away here, but we can't ignore what Rougie has done. He has hit safely in each of the three games he's played in, but took it to a new level today.
Odor went 3-for-3 with a grand slam, a double, and a single before being pulled after his final at-bat. He's now 5-for-9 in Cactus League play with a home run, six RBI's, and only one strikeout.
Anything at this stage of spring training has to be taken with a grain of salt. But of all the Rangers' players that could use a turn-around season, it's Odor. He worked hard this offseason and stayed in contact with the Rangers coaching staff while he worked out in Miami. He's been open to changing things, and has even been experimenting with the way he grips the bat.
He's been the Rangers' best hitter so far this spring, so it's definitely something to keep an eye on.
Nick Solak in Center Field
Today was Nick Solak's second start in center field this spring, but the first time he saw any real action. From what I saw today, he looked comfortable.
He was forced to go back on a ball and was able to make the play without hesitation. He also had to make a hard throw off a sacrifice fly, where the runner did score. With how deep the ball was hit, it was going to take an elite center field arm to have a chance.
From watching him so far this spring during batting practice, and now in games, Solak looks comfortable with any ball hit in front of him or where he has to chase it down laterally. My biggest concern has been anything he has to run back on, so seeing him be able to do that today was satisfying.
Solak has a very good chance, but he isn't a sure lock for a roster spot. If he continues to show he can handle his defensive responsibilities in center field, that will make him as close to a lock as possible.
Luke Farrell Impress Yet Again
The Rangers don't currently have any openings in the rotation, but they do in the bullpen.
Luke Farrell was very sharp today, throwing a perfect seventh inning with two strikeouts. He had command of all of his pitches, threw them for strikes, and the ball looked great coming out of his hand.
The Rangers have a lot of options to weigh with their bullpen. When it comes to some of their younger starters like Farrell, Jonathan Hernandez, and Taylor Hearn, the Rangers have contemplated using them in a relief role. Hernandez is a possible candidate for a long relief role, but Farrell could be making a strong case for himself if he continues to look this sharp.
The main question will be if the Rangers want to dedicate him as a reliever so he can make the Opening Day roster. If they do, Farrell could be one of the final names in the decision-making process. If they commit him as a starter, he will most definitely start the season at Triple-A Nashville unless a slew of injuries attacks the starting rotation.
The Texas Rangers make their way to Tempe, Arizona to play the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 PM CT.
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