Solid Introductions

Geovany Soto

Geovany Soto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One third of the Texas Rangers line-up Thursday night were newbies. The overall results were positive, though not all the individual ones.

In pounding the Angels into submission 15-9, Rangers fans got a chance to see all three of the newest Rangers in one game: catcher Geovany Soto, acquired in a trade with the Cunbs; Ryan Dempster, acquired in a separate trade with the Cubs; and Mike Olt, rookie first baseman recalled from AA Frisco.

The results were positive for the offensive players, a disaster for the pitcher.

Olt lashed a solid single to left in his first major league at bat against Angels starter CJ Wilson. He scored the second of the Rangers five second inning runs. Coming to bat again just one inning later, Olt lashed another bullet on the left side, but it was snared on an excellent defensive play.

Olt struck out in his only other plate appearance of the night.

Soto was in the middle of all the action. It might be debated how good a game he called in his first look at the American League Angels, but he was a solid contributor at the plate. Soto’s lead-off single in the second spurred the 5-run rally against Wilson. In the 8th, Soto’s double plated two runs and helped seal the win for the Rangers.

Dempster’s Rangers debut was a living nightmare. Pitching in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in the middle of the summer is a daunting chore. When the jet stream is blowing out, there’s no telling what can happen. Dempster found out early, when Mark Trumbo hit a two-run shot to right in the first. It didn’t even look like it was hit hard. In most parks on most nights, it was a simple fly out to right. With the jet stream, it became two runs for the Angels.  Dempster would give up a second homer on the night, as well as four doubles, three of which came close to going over the fence as well. By the time Dempster’s night ended, the Angels had scored eight of their nine runs on the night. Dempster seemed to alternate between cutters that induced weak grounders and meatballs that pounded to the deepest part of the park. In the end, he was lucky to escape with a no decision on the night.

Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt tossed two solid innings in his new role as long reliever in picking up the win. Josh Hamilton had his first 4-RBI game in over a month, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler took Wilson deep, and the Rangers ended the night with the same lead they began the series with.

All in all, it was a pretty satisfying conclusion considering the Angels appeared to have seized momentum in the AL West race following two convincing wins Monday and Tuesday.

Olt probably won’t get the start at Kansas City tonight against righthander Jeremy Guthrie and Soto likely gives way to Mike Napoli behind the plate tonight, but it certainly looks like the Rangers bench has become more potent with their arrival.