With Yu Darvish officially out for as the Texas Rangers opening day starter, who would skipper Ron Washington turn to? Not Derek Holland, who is out until mid-season. Not 2013 opening day starter Matt Harrison, who has been delayed by back problems. Definitely not Tommy Hanson, who was released by the Rangers on Wednesday.
Times are tough in Arlington, y'all.
So the Rangers made a surprising choice — Tanner Scheppers, who was dynamite in their bullpen last season, will get the ball Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies. As if playing the Phillies on opening day weren't weird enough, consider this: This will be Scheppers first career MLB start.
How many times has this happened, a guy making his first career start on opening day? Not many. Just once, actually.
According to the Elias, Tanner Scheppers would be just the second pitcher since 1945 to make his first ML start in a team’s season opener.— Anthony Andro (@aandro) March 26, 2014
Fernando Valenzuela only other pitcher to make his first big-league start in his team's season opener.— Anthony Andro (@aandro) March 26, 2014
There's little doubt that Scheppers is an effective pitcher. In 2013, he had a 1.88 ERA in 76.2 innings, with a WHIP of 1.07. But starting is a different animal than coming out of the bullpen. The last time he started was one game in Triple-A in 2011, with another seven in the minors in 2010.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
- - - - - - -