Lots of people are overreacting after Monday's Opening Day loss to the Phillies, a day that saw the Rangers score 10 runs and lose thanks to a patchwork pitching staff that is being pieced together on the fly at the moment.
Consider that the Rangers' new big-named acquisitions, Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder, combined for one hit and the highly questionable bottom third of the lineup combined for five. That's something to be really excited about. Now, don't expect Leonys Martin, J.P. Arencibia and whatever second baseman is thrown out in the lineup on any given day to do that routinely, but they showed on Monday they can.
Josh Wilson, who got the Opening Day nod at second over Donnie Murphy, had some huge hits from the 9-hole, including a bases-clearing double that helped erase an early 6-0 deficit and got the Rangers back in the game. And consider this, these guys had their success against one of the best starting pitchers in baseball, touching up Cliff Lee for eight runs in five innings.
The biggest bright spots in the bottom of the order, however, were catcher J.P. Arencibia and center fielder Leonys Martin, who hit seventh and eighth, respectively.
Both players had a horrendous spring, and there was a question surrounding both regarding their playing time if they didn't pick things up. Arencibia's is more assured with Geovany Soto's knee injury, but with Michael Choice looming (and picking up a pinch-hit single on Monday), Martin has some pressure on him to perform. And perform, he did.
Martin went 2-for-4 with two RBI singles, and Arencibia — known for homers and strikeouts, worked back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk against Lee, who rarely walks anyone, much less No. 7 hitters.
Fact is, Choo and Fielder aren't going to go a combined 1-for-9 very often. So if the bottom of the order can produce at even a fraction of what they did Monday, the Rangers are going to be the potent offense we thought they could.