Cole Hamels is the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day starting pitcher, Jeff Banister announced today. Hamels will get the ball on March 29, 2018, for that afternoon’s game against the Houston Astros.
This isn’t exactly a surprise -- the Opening Day start generally goes to whoever is considered the veteran Alpha Male starting pitcher for the organization, and that’s Hamels at this point. As far as the rest of the rotation goes, Matt Moore is coming off a bad season, Mike Minor still hasn’t locked down a rotation spot as he works to return to the rotation after pitching in relief last year, Doug Fister was good for a couple of months last year but was bad for a couple of years before that, and Martin Perez’s availability is still in question for the start of the season as he recovers from a broken right elbow.
So Hamels would seem to be the pick by default, even if he weren’t “Cole Hamels,” established veteran top of the rotation starting pitcher.
Now let’s just cross our fingers and hope Hamels (and everyone else in the rotation) stays healthy for the next couple of weeks.