Rangers Facing Perfect Test to Open Season

Nomar Mazara right fielder for the Texas Rangers

Nomar Mazara right fielder for the Texas Rangers. Shutterstock

He made four starts against Texas in 2017 and put together a 3-1 record against the Rangers with a 2.92 ERA and 29 strikeouts.

Along with the starting rotation, we'll also likely get to see Jeff Banister's plans for the back end of the bullpen. The Rangers return some of the usual suspects in the field, with guys like Delino DeShields, Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Rougned Odor coming back for Texas. Plus, the Astros will be feeling like they have to prove that last season wasn't a fluke and while Texas will be out for blood against a division rival, I think that Houston draws first blood with a win on Opening Day in this one.

Arizona starter Patrick Corbin (1-0) gave up two runs on bases-empty homers by DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado while winning his first career Opening Day start.

Verlander is now 10-1 in the regular season since being acquired by the Astros from Detroit in a trade-deadline deal on August 31.

At the plate, the young lineup for Texas will get a chance to face a stacked pitching staff headlined by Justin Verlander. "It's not always pretty, but do whatever is necessary to win the baseball game".

Verlander is pitching on opening day for the 10th time in 11 seasons.

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Dallas Keuchel will get the nod for the visiting Astros.

Astros: 1B Yuli Gurriel is recovering from left hand surgery last month, but started the season on baseball's restricted list to serve his five-game suspension _ for making an inappropriate gesture toward Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish in the World Series _ rather than on the disabled list. Cole Hamels, who has become the de facto ace of this team, will get a chance to measure up against one of the most risky lineups in the majors. "I'm excited to be here for a whole season".

Fister (1-0) allowed four hits, struck out three and walked three.

Overall, it marks the 18th season that the Astros and Rangers have played in the regular season with the victor of the year's series receiving the coveted Silver Boot. Fister is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA (seven earned runs in 18.1 innings pitched) over three career starts versus Houston.

The Rangers aren't going to be great, but they could be good enough.

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