First pitch: 3 things I heard after Rangers-Rays Wild Card Game 1

The Texas Rangers logged a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the American League Wild Card series. Here's what I heard inside the clubhouses.

Texas Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe and second baseman Marcus Semien
Texas Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe and second baseman Marcus Semien / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — So much for all of that talk about the Texas Rangers having a hard time shaking off the past week of disappointment.

Texas not only came out strong against the Tampa Bay Rays, but was the better team on offense, defense and the mound on Tuesday, striking first in their best-of-three matchup with the host Rays thanks to a 4-0 victory.

Sure, Jordan Montgomery was the star of the show, looking like a master of the craft on the mound. But there were other things going on as well that caught our attention.

Texas Rangers quote to know: Nathaniel Lowe

Lowe set the tone for how Texas was approaching Game 1 in the pregame media scrum, quipping, "I don't know, we kind of accepted that we're the Rangers and we've kind of got to do it the hard way. If we've got to win from the Wild Card division all the way to the World Series, that's what we signed up for."

If the Texas way is the hard way, well, so far so good for the AL West runners-up. Certainly, Texas doesn't have to look far for an example of a team that surprised in the Wild Card round and kept going (we're looking at you, 2022 Philadelphia Phillies), but these Rangers didn't just sneak into the postseason. Texas did win 90 regular-season games and had the AL West in their grasp until a meltdown in Seattle over the final weekend.

On Tuesday, with their words and play, Texas made it abundantly clear they aren't worried about starting their first postseason journey since 2016 inside Tropicana Field.