There might not have been a more anticipated debut of a Ranger this season this side of Joey Gallo, whenever that comes, than of relief pitcher Keone Kela, the hard-throwing righty who had a tremendous run in Cactus League play to make the Rangers' Opening Day roster.
On Tuesday night, we finally got to see the big-league debut of the 21-year-old closer-in-the-making.
Kela had a rough start to the seventh inning when he allowed a single, a walk got a strikeout and then allowed another single to load the bases with one out. That's when he showed the ice water in his veins that is often an indicator of a big-league closer — current or future.
Kela faced Marcus Semien with the bases loaded and Semien worked the count full, when Kela delivered a 3-2 changeup (showing tremendous confidence from catcher Carlos Corporan to put down that sign) and induced an inning-ending double play.
Kela drew a lot of praise from his teammates as soon as the play ended, as all of the infielders, including his apparent mentor, Prince Fielder, immediately ran over to congratulate him.
It might not have been the prettiest inning, but to see the way he handled adversity in his big-league debut was pretty phenomenal.