It’s March, so the Rangers are in Surprise, and my sons and I just took in our first Rangers game of the season today. Despite all of the Morning News-generated hype about the "new" Rangers of superior pitching and attitude, today’s game against the SF Giants showed too much of the old Rangers: dawdling pitching, untimely hitting and questionable fielding. To be fair, most of the Rangers starting eight must have missed the bus to Scottsdale, because the only starting regular was catcher Gerald Laird, so the hitting and fielding woes can possibly be excused. However, most of the pitchers used today are projected to be on the staff or "fighting for a job". How did they do? Starter Robinson Tejada had trouble throwing first-pitch strikes, which led to long counts and eventually too many runners. Starter/reliever candidate Josh Rupe didn’t look ready for prime time, giving up plenty of runners and a long, long home run to a supposedly post-steroid Barry Bonds. And Ron Mahay continued the trend of mediocre pitching by giving up another homer. All in all, nothing to write home to Surprise about. Maybe tomorrow will be different.

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