Texas Rangers pitcher Jacob deGrom will be the Opening Day starter, the team announced today. The Rangers open the season at home on March 30, 2023, against the Philadelphia Phillies. Game time is 3:05 p.m. Central.
deGrom being named as the starter isn’t really a surprise — he is widely considered the best pitcher in baseball when he is healthy, and the Rangers landed him early in free agency with a 5 year, $185 million deal to head up a revamped starting rotation. The main question is whether deGrom would be ready to go on Opening Day — he was slowed early in camp due to tightness in his side, and of course, has missed a fair amount of time due to injuries the previous two years. Manager Bruce Bochy has indicated that deGrom likely will be on a more limited pitch count to start the year as a result.
Barring injury, we knew before camp started who the five members of the rotation would be — joining deGrom would be fellow free agents Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney, along with holdovers Jon Gray and Martin Perez — though at this point we do not know how the rest of the rotation will be ordered. That will presumably be announced in the next few days.
UPDATE — Per the beats, manager Bruce Bochy indicated that the tentative rotation is as follows:
I was a little surprised deGrom and Eovaldi are back to back to start the season, given they are both going to be on a pitch limit to start the year, but upon reflection, I see why it makes sense. The bullpen should be fully rested at the start of the year, and there’s an off day on Friday, March 31, between the deGrom and Eovaldi starts. That allows you to be able to use pretty much any reliever for either, or both, of the first two games, before going to Gray and Perez, who should be able to pitch longer than deGrom and Eovaldi the first time through the rotation.