C.J. Wilson (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

It’s Opening Day in Texas! Rangers Host Red Sox - Preview and Lineups

Opening Day is finally here baseball fans and I couldn’t be more excited. I have a feeling it’s going to be another great year for the Texas Rangers. The Rangers will kick off the season with a home opener against the Boston Red Sox. Both teams have made offseason additions and lost key players during the offseason, but both have bounced back and are ready for what the season brings. Both teams have solid pitching rotations and lineups. This first series of the season for the Rangers and Red Sox will definitely be a battle and it’s tough to say who is going to come out on top. Regardless, here is a preview of this afternoon’s game…

The Rangers have new ace C.J. Wilson starting on the mound for Friday’s game. Last year, Wilson made his transition from reliever to starter to go 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA. He had 170 strikeouts and 93 walks while allowing 83 runs off 161 hits over 204 innings.

The Rangers went 90-72 last year and secured the AL West division title. They went on to beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS but fell to the San Francisco Giants in their first ever World Series appearance in franchise history. The question is whether the offense can stay healthy and firm – especially with having Michael Young as a backup to ever infield position – but it’s whether they have the pitching staff to take them to the World Series.

This year, their first two starters are solid but the next three are still up in the air. Tommy Hunter, who is the No. 3 starter, suffered a groin injury late in camp and is out for the next several weeks. The Rangers penciled in Alexi Ogando to take his place temporarily and is scheduled to start the fourth game of the year. The Rangers also have Matt Harrison, who has suffered in his big league appearances but secured a starting position after a solid spring, and Derek Holland, who has been pretty solid this spring but has still been a little shaky here and there throughout camp.

According to T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers have named their Opening Day batting lineup with 2B Ian Kinsler still in leadoff followed by:

SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Julio Borbon

The Red Sox counter with Jon Lester on the mound. In 2010, Lester went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA. He had 225 strikeouts and 83 walks while allowing 81 runs on 167 hits over 208 innings.

Boston went 89-73 in 2010 and look to do better in 2011. The Red Sox definitely have the offense to keep their team going and look to be set for an even better offensive year with additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford despite losing Adrian Beltre, who is now with the Rangers. They also don’t lack in the pitching department with Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz as No. 1 and No. 2 starters followed by Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Red Sox have the talent to win their division and go far this year.

The Red Sox Opening Day lineup is as follows:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
LF Carl Crawford
3B Kevin Youkilis
1B Adrian Gonzalez
DH David Ortiz
RF Mike Cameron
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Marco Scutaro

What are your predictions of this 3-game series? Do you think the Rangers can take all three, two or just one? My prediction is, unfortunately, in favor of the Red Sox. I think Boston is going to come out on top in this 3-game series 2-1. I think the Rangers will be able to secure the first game but I’m not certain on the second two. Rest assured, when the Rangers meet the Red Sox later in the year, you better look out because our guys will have their butts in gear and will be ready to take a 3-game sweep!

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Tags: 2011 Opening Day AL West Boston Red Sox C. J. Wilson Jon Lester MLB Opening Day Opening Day Opening Day Lineup Opening Day Roster Rangers Rangers Lineup Rangers Vs Red Sox Red Sox Texas Rangers Texas Rangers Vs Boston Red Sox

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