3 Observations from the Rangers Opening Day Game

Rangers start their season in dramatic fashion against the Cubs. Several sotrylines that have been building up through the offseason become prevalent during Thursdays game.

Chicago Cubs v Texas Rangers
Chicago Cubs v Texas Rangers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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The reigning champs opened their season against the Cubs on Thursday evening in a game that did not disappoint. The Rangers were able to take care of business and secure their first victory of the new season, even though it took them a little longer than they would have liked, being forced to go into extra innings. In extras, however, the Rangers did find a way to finish the game in a dramatic fashion nonetheless, with catcher Jonah Heim hitting a walk-off single into the gap in the bottom of the 10th to win the game 4 to 3. 

Heim completed a mini redemption arc to close out the game after having somewhat of a fielding blunder while behind the plate in the top of the ninth. Heim's error, which was due to a misconception on whether a ball was foul or a wild pitch, caused the Cubs to score to go ahead at the time and turned Heim into the villain of the game for the time being. Thankfully for Heim, his walk-off single to win the game was enough to make fans quickly forget about his prior transgressions earlier in the game.

Heims walk-off and redemption arc, however, was just one storyline for the Rangers in their season's opening game. With the Rangers looking to continue their success on the field last season, several storylines have been building throughout the past few months that played out in last night's game.

1. Wyatt Langford is Ready to Be in the MLB

One of the biggest stories, not just for the Rangers but also for the MLB through spring training, was whether or not Langford was ready to make his MLB debut to begin the season. Langford was drafted fourth overall last July and made headlines throughout the league with the rapid rate he was going through the minors, only playing in 36 games between single and double- a before being called up to the Rangers triple-a team, where he finished his season with a .368 average. 

Due to Langford going through the minors at a rapid rate and also putting up a dominant performance through all of spring training this past month, the Rangers had no other choice but to call him up to majors to start his season in Arlington. Since last week, when it was announced Langford would be on the Rangers 26-man roster to start the season, fans and media have been speculating on whether Langford is genuinely ready and whether or not his talent will transfer over to the league.

On Thursday night, Langford made his MLB debut for the Rangers as DH and hit fifth in the order. He proved to fans and the media that he was ready to be in the league. In his debut game he did nothing extraordinary and was only able to pick up one hit which was a somewhat weakly hit ball to the Cubs left side of the infield that he was able to beat out for a single. 

However, the thing that made Langford look like he was ready to be in the MLB was his confidence and calmness. Not once in the game did he appear like he was not comfortable being at the plate, even when he was up to bat in the bottom of the 10th with bases loaded. The rookie had a chance to single handedly win the game for his new team and become the savior of the young season, which would have most likely settled any nerves he still has about starting his season with the Rangers.

But when he stepped up to the plate, he did not look like a typical twenty-one-one-year-old rookie trying to be a hero for his team. He looked like a composed veteran who's been doing this for years. He fell behind early on in the count 1-2 but was then able to do something unexpected out and out of the ordinary for a rookie, who fouled off the next three pitches thrown at him. This may sound trivial, but when a rookie, especially a rookie as young as Langford, can be composed enough at the plate in extra innings with the game on the line to foul back three straight until he gets the pitch he wants, is something that should not go unnoticed. Unfortunately, nothing came out of Langford's at-bat, which ended with him grounding out after the seventh pitch.

Even though Langford did not give fans any indication that he was going to be an instant star, he did prove that he was ready to compete in the league and face any challenge throughout the season head-on.