This, of course, is not surprising, but until now the Rangers hadn't made the obvious official. Were Yu Darvish ready to start the season, there might have been a debate, but with Darvish not due back until mid-May, it was Hamels' start from the get-go.
Hamels, you may remember, was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies last July for a smorgasbord of prospects, Matt Harrison, cash, and Matt Harrison's back insurance. After he landed in Arlington, Hamels went 7-1 with the Rangers with an ERA of 3.66 over 83 2/3 innings pitched. The Rangers won ten straight games started by Hamels to end the season.
Hamels took the ball for Game 162 and threw a complete game as the Rangers clinched the American League West over the Anaheim Angels. In two postseason starts, Hamels was sterling allowing just four earned runs to the Blue Jays in 13 1/3 innings.
With Hamels set to make the start, the Rangers run their streak of different pitchers starting Opening Day to eight. Not since Kevin Millwood's run from '06-'09 have the Rangers had some Opening Day continuity.
Here's what Opening Day has looked like on the mound for the Rangers the last eight seasons:
'09 Kevin Millwood
'10 Scott Feldman
'11 C.J. Wilson
'12 Colby Lewis
'13 Matt Harrison
'14 Tanner Scheppers
'15 Yovani Gallardo
'16 Cole Hamels
That's right. Tanner Scheppers has made more Opening Day starts than Yu Darvish and will one day win you a prize in a Rangers trivia contest.