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Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Oakland A's - It's Not 2014

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Welcome to another season of Texas Rangers baseball

Welcome to the Jeff Banister era
Welcome to the Jeff Banister era
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

You know why the 2015 season is already great? It's not the 2014 season. If that doesn't get you pumped up for baseball, I don't know what could. The Rangers could lose 100 games this year and it would undoubtedly be more pleasant than the circus that hit Arlington last year. A full 162 game slate of not-2014 baseball sounds like the best thing in the world. That 162 game slate begins tonight in Oakland.

If the Rangers contend, that will be really fun. If the Rangers don't contend, so it goes. But the fact that this isn't 2014 makes tonight really exciting. The Rangers are 0-0. After ending 2014 with a record of 67-95, let's call it a 28-game winning streak. After finishing in last place, we can pretend that they've gained 31 games in the standings. After a year with the worst health for a professional team maybe ever, the likes of Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Derek Holland, and Mitch Moreland have returned.

No more J.P. Arencibia for us. New memories to replace those embedded by Mike Carp, Carlos Pena, and Nate Adcock. It's all Adam Rosales dong-sprints, all the time. And Robinson Chirinos' hose. And Fielder's shift-wrecking oppo doubles. And Roogie evoking Ian Kinsler. And Choo's discipline. And Elvis Andrus reentering the building. And Keone Kela's ascension. And Derek Holland elbowing his way into the Cy Young picture. And learning who Jeff Banister is. And Adrian Beltre. And Adrian Beltre. And Adrian Beltre. And Adrian Beltre. And Adrian Beltre...

So that's my pitch. It's 2015. It's not 2014. It's Opening Day. The Rangers have Adrian Beltre and we get to watch him and them 162 times.

Here is your official 2015 Texas Rangers Opening Day 25-Man Roster and my thoughts on them:

Bats:

No. 1 Elvis Andrus - Ten homers and a Gold Glove.

No. 2 Leonys Martin - I wish the league could be brainwashed to forget that Leonys has a gun so they would run on him again.

No. 3 Carlos Corporan - Still haven't forgiven him for breaking up Yu's other, other almost no-hitter.

No. 7 Delino DeShields Jr. - It is alarming that the Rangers have forgone their recent history of meritocracy to keep a player who probably shouldn't have a job. That said, those wheels, tho.

No. 9 Adam Rosales -

No. 12 Rougned Odor - Roogie was probably one of the worst everyday position players last season. That's because he was a 20-year-old learning how to transform his 80-grade confidence into production at the Major League level when he should have been in Frisco. It would be a surprise to no one if Odor took a massive step forward this year, least of all Roogie himself.

No. 16 Ryan Rua - Is he Kole Calhoun or is he Tim Calhoun?

No. 17 Shin-Soo Choo - If he's Choo from April of last year, the Rangers have something. If he's Choo from the rest of 2014, the Rangers have something awful and expensive.

No. 18 Mitch Moreland - Here is your left-hander for the bullpen.

No. 20 Jake Smolinski - When does he remove his mask to reveal that he was Jim Adduci all along?

No. 29 Adrian Beltre - That's future Hall of Famer and top 5 best players you'll ever see wear a Rangers uniform Adrian Beltre to you.

No. 62 Robinson Chirinos - A decent, cheap Jorge Alfaro seat-warmer. He's also an underrated story after coming all the way back from a vicious head injury. Good on you, Cheerios.

No. 84 Prince Fielder - I was going to do a bit where I would list all of the players who hit more dingers than Prince last year but I realized that this article didn't need another thousand words. Needless to say, the Rangers are going to need Prince to out-dong Sam Fuld this year.

Rotation:

No. 22 Nick Martinez - Can you even begin to imagine going back in time and telling a Rangers fan in March of 2014 that Nick Martinez would be the only Rangers starter to be on the Opening Day roster both this year and last?

No. 45 Derek Holland - Dutch is going to Kluber it this season.

No. 47 Ross Detwiler - He was probably something like 8th on the Nationals' starting depth chart, but he pitched real well in that playoff game that one time!

No. 48 Colby Lewis - Colby looked more like his old self in the second half last year instead just being an old self in the first half. Here's hoping his cybernetic hip holds up.

No. 49 Yovani Gallardo - Poor, poor Yo. He doesn't know what being the Opening Day starter for the Rangers does to a man yet.

Bullpen:

No. 30 Neftali Feliz - Feliz is on an Opening Day roster for the first time since 2012. That's weird.

No. 35 Phil Klein - I can only assume he beat out Jon Edwards for this spot by winning a steak eating contest.

No. 37 Shawn Tolleson - Tolleson is the first man to put a loss on the MRI machine in some many months.

No. 41 Logan Verrett - Probably Seth Rosin in disguise.

No. 50 Keone Kela -

No. 55 Roman Mendez

No. 63 Anthony Bass - Everyone please just ignore that Anthony Bass is on the Opening Day roster, please. Please? No one make the Official Opening Day Roster Sporcle until he's gone.

Injured:

No. 11 Yu Darvish (60-Day DL) -

No. 13 Jurickson Profar (60-Day DL) - Found out the other day that Jurickson Profar is how they spell Ruben Mateo in Papiamento.

No. 21 Kyuji Fujikawa - He looked good this spring but then he hurt his penis.

No. 33 Martin Perez (60-Day DL) - It's going to be a real shot in the arm when 'Teen returns...oh god, I mean a real big break...crap, I mean it's going to be a nice, pleasant thing where no one dies.

No. 52 Tanner Scheppers - Is the fact that Tanner Scheppers was last year's Opening Day starter the most 2014 fact of all the 2014 facts?

No. 54 Matt Harrison (60-Month DL) - At least he doesn't have to face Albert Pujols during rehab.

No. 59 Lisalverto Bonilla - Here's hoping the fruit of the Michael Young trade doesn't die on the vine.

No. 64 Antoan Richardson - His injury saved us from him being the Anthony Bass of hitters.

P.S. Oh yeah, the A's...

Series Schedule:

Monday, April 6 9:05 pm: Yovani Gallardo vs Sonny Gray

Tuesday, April 7 9:05 pm: Colby Lewis vs Jesse Hahn

Wednesday, April 8 9:05 pm: Ross Detwiler vs Scott Kazmir

Thursday, April 9 2:35 pm: Nick Martinez vs Kendall Graveman

Go Rangers!

Oakland Athletics (Last season: 88-74, 2nd Place in AL West, Wild Card Game losers)

Rangers' 2014 Record vs. A's: 10-9 (The Rangers were inexplicably 7-2 at O.Co last year.)

Oakland's Recent Results: 22-11 in Cactus League action

Oakland's 2014 Home Record: 48-33

O.Co Coliseum 2014 Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 82/87 - Runs: 92/101

SB Nation A's Blog: Athletics Nation

Match-up: (as of 04/06) Rangers A's Advantage
Batting (RAR) Choo and Prince in the same lineup, that's crazy! (1st) Shipped Josh Donaldson to a different country (30th) Adrian Beltre!
Base Running (RAR) Delino DeShields Jr will lead the AL in SBs (1st) Buncha TOOTBLANers (30th) Leonys Martin!
Starters (RAR) Waiting for Chi Chi Obviously going to be frustratingly amazing Yu Darvish was never good against the A's anyway!
Bullpen (RAR) Just ignore Anthony Bass (1st) More like Fernando Abad Bullpen (30th) Psycho Kela!
Defense (UZR) Elvis is back, baby (1st) Ben Zobrist is basically the most A's A to ever A (30th) Elvis!
Overall (UZR + RAR) #NeverEverQuit Beane'd Rangers! (But probably not ._.)

Questions to Answer:

  • Who leads the 2015 Rangers in the follow categories: Wins, fWAR, Dingers, times hitting second in the lineup, SBs, wOBA, and TOOTBLANs?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Delino DeSheilds Jr. makes Adam salty.)
  • Over/Under: 4.5 innings pitched by Anthony Bass as a Texas Ranger in 2015?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by new Opening Day ace Yovani Gallardo tonight?
  • What is your prediction for number of Rangers wins, in which position do they finish in the West, and with which pick they select in the 2016 amateur draft?