Texas Rangers Opening Day: The starting pitchers for Opening Day between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners have been announced, and while the Game 2 and Game 3 starters aren't official yet (or if they are, I haven't seen the official announcement), we have a pretty good idea who is going to be going in those games.
Opening Day for the Rangers is tomorrow, April 4, with a 3:05 Central game time at Globe Life Park. Lefty Cole Hamels will be facing off against Seattle righthander Felix Hernandez. Neither of those are a surprise...a healthy Yu Darvish would have made picking an Opening Day starter for Texas more difficult, but with Yu still about six weeks away, Cole is The Man. As for King Felix, the Rangers have historically had some success against him, but he was nails against the Rangers last year, going 5-0 in 5 starters while allowing just 7 runs. Felix did, however, have a down year (for him) in 2015...his 107 ERA+ was his worst ERA+ since his first full season, his 3.72 FIP was actually higher than his 3.53 ERA, and he struggled on the road (4.25 ERA) and in the second half (4.43 ERA) in 2015.
The Game 2 probable starters are Martin Perez for Texas and Hisashi Iwakuma for Seattle. Despite seemingly being around forever, Perez turns just 25 years old tomorrow, and after returning from Tommy John surgery and finishing strong last year, he seems like he may be ready to establish himself as a legit #2/#3 starter this year. His biggest bugaboo is maintaining his composure and not letting his emotions get away from him...that will be something to watch on Tuesday. Iwakuma, on the other hand, turns 35 next week, and is back in Seattle after a free agent deal with the Dodgers was nixed due to issues with his physical. His 8 career wins against Texas are tied with his 8 against the Angels for the most he has against any team.
Game 3 is expected to match Rangers veteran righty Colby Lewis against M's lefty Wade Miley. Colby is Colby...he's going to throw strikes, give you innings, likely give up a home run or two, and probably go 6-7 innings having given up 3-4 runs and having kept the Rangers in the game. Miley, 29, was a Rangers target when the D-Backs were shopping him prior to the 2015 season. The BoSox got him instead, and after a middling 2015 campaign, he was flipped to the M's this past offseason for Carson Smith and Roenis Elias. With a lefty on the mound, this will give Jeff Banister the opportunity to put Ryan Rua in the lineup at first base (and possibly Justin Ruggiano in the outfield), and new Ranger Bryan Holaday is slated to make his Rangers debut behind the plate that date.