Texas confident in bullpen despite OD loss

Texas confident in bullpen despite OD loss

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers entered the season believing that their bullpen is going to be a major strength for them. They are still steadfast about that, even though Matt Bush and Sam Dyson let the first one get away in an 8-5 loss to the Indians on Opening Day at Globe Life Park on Monday.

The Rangers took a one-run lead into the eighth before the Indians rallied for the win. It was the kind of game the Rangers won so many times last season.

"We felt good about that situation," manager Jeff Banister said. "We felt like we had our best guys in the right spot."

The Rangers led by four runs after three innings and by two in the seventh after starter Yu Darvish set down the side in order on 10 pitches in the sixth. But Banister felt the Indians' comeback started in the seventh.

Darvish gave up a one-out double to Yandy Diaz, who moved to third on a wild pitch. Darvish then struck out Abraham Almonte, but the third-strike slider bounced past catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the screen, allowing Diaz to score.

Diaz crosses the dish

"I was set up middle away, and he threw it down and in," Lucroy said. "He got the result he wanted, but I couldn't handle it."

Bush retired the final two hitters in the seventh and got Michael Brantley to fly out to deep center to start the eighth. That brought up Edwin Encarnacion, who started the day with nine home runs in his last 15 regular-season games against the Rangers. He hit a 1-2 curve into the left-field seats to tie the score.

"I got ahead of him and wanted to throw a curveball," Bush said. "I wanted to bury it ... bounce it. I threw it too much over the middle of the plate."

Dyson took over in the ninth but didn't have the same stuff he had pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. This time he allowed three runs on four hits to six batters faced and had to turn it over to Alex Claudio to get the Rangers out of the inning.

"I felt fine. I felt fine in the bullpen," Dyson said. "I was fighting to get the ball down in the zone. ... It wasn't doing what it was supposed to be doing. It was a lack of execution."

It's only the second time in 105 appearances with the Rangers that Dyson has allowed three or more runs in a game.

"I will still take Dyson any time in that spot," Lucroy said. "No matter what happened tonight."

One game does not shake the Rangers' confidence in their bullpen.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.