The Texas Rangers were one of the busiest teams in the offseason with the goal of quickly turning around the franchise. The Rangers added shortstop Corey Seager, second baseman Marcus Semien, outfielder Kole Calhoun and starter Jon Gray through free agency.
Texas fans get their first look at the new players when the Rangers host the Colorado Rockies on Monday afternoon in the first of a two-game interleague series.
Texas rallied for a 12-6 win at Toronto to salvage the last of the three-game series against the Blue Jays. Semien had a rough debut against his former team and is hitting just .077 while Seager thrived and brings a .462 average to the home opener.
Colorado won’t see Gray, its former first-round pick, on this trip. Gray pitched the opener in Toronto but landed on the 10-day injured list with a blister.
The Rangers went on a spending spree after losing 102 games last season. With a new ballpark – Globe Life Field opened in 2020 to no fans – the organization felt the need to go big.
“We want to win a World Series,” Semien said. “We want to play great baseball for these fans. We have talent and great men in this clubhouse. We are always going to play hard. We’re not going to go 162-0, but the effort is always going to be there. With the fans, the talent and the effort, we’re going to take things to the next level.”
Texas will send Dallas-area product Taylor Hearn to the hill against Colorado’s Austin Gomber. Hearn has faced the Rockies twice in his career – both games in relief – and has a 6.00 ERA in three innings of work.
Hearn broke in with the Rangers in 2019, starting one game, and then made 14 relief appearances in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Last year, he was 6-6 with a 4.66 ERA in 42 games, 11 of them starts.
Gomber finished 9-9 with a 4.53 ERA in a career-high 23 starts in 2021. It was his first season with the Rockies after coming over from St. Louis in the Nolan Arenado trade.
Gomber is 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers.
The lefty wasn’t intimidated by pitching at altitude. He went 5-1 with 2.09 ERA in nine home starts last season and has pitched with the philosophy of throwing any pitch in any count. He also knows he needs to be flexible based on the situation.
“What I’m trying to do a better job of this year is having a baseline plan going into the game and knowing certain areas that I want to avoid with certain guys,” he said. “A lot of times last year I would find that pitches I was throwing were playing into their strengths.”
Colorado will try to build on a successful opening weekend. After losing on Opening Day, the Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Saturday night and 9-4 Sunday afternoon to take the series from their NL West Division rivals.
–Field Level Media