Of all the hoopla this spring in setting the Rangers rotation, the one question we as fans never gave any thought to was: Who will be the Rangers’ starting pitcher on Opening Day? From day one, we’ve all known that would be Tanner Scheppers.
Actually, if any of you called that at the start of camp, I think you deserve a Warren Buffet-March Madness Perfect Bracket-style payout. Yu Darvish was the obvious answer to that question up until a few days ago. Who knew how much trouble a stiff neck could be?
But as surprising as it is, Scheppers has had a good spring training. So good in fact, he went from being expected to start the year in his usual bullpen role, to making the rotation, to starting Opening Day. Throwing in 14.2 innings with a 3.07 ERA, Tanner has averaged about a strike-out per inning. Over Tanner starting Opening Day? Then I’ll give you another shocker: as of right now, other than Joe Saunders, Scheppers is the oldest pitcher in the Rangers rotation. Crazy, right?
Robbie Ross: 24 years old
Nick Martinez: 23 years old – stay tuned, the good folks at Nolan Writin will be giving you a proper intro soon.
Martin Perez: 22 years old
What’s not surprising was to read that Scheppers’ maturity played a role in his selection for the start. While Perez obviously has more starting experience, this will be Scheppers’ first ever major league start, he’s also only 22 years and may be just a little too excited for an Opening Day start.
Freaking out because it’s Tanner’s MLB debut as a starter? Check this out:
Fernando did okay for himself, didn’t he?
Lest we forget, Scheppers has had plenty of experience in nerve-wracking situations. Last year, Scheppers turned himself into the Rangers go-to guy in the late innings. He finished the year with 27 holds; tying him for fourth most in the league, and an ERA of 1.88.
I for one like Scheppers in the rotation. My only hesitation was that I hated to lose him in the bullpen, and I think most fans felt the same way. And before we freak out about how Tanner will be the Rangers’ 6th different opening day starting pitcher in six years…
Here’s the list because I know you want to know:
2009 – Kevin Millwood
2010 – Scott Feldman (oy vey)
2011 – CJ Wilson (I feel like washing my hair with Head & Shoulders right now for some reason)
2012 – Colby Lewis (He’ll be starting this year in the minors)
2013- Matt Harrsion (And now I want to double-check the firmness of my mattress)
As I was saying, before we freak out about Tanner being the Rangers’ 6th different starter in 6 years, let’s all take a moment to remember that the Rangers played more than 162 games in all but one of those seasons.
Opening Day is one game. We lost our opening game to the Astros last year. *insert eye roll* I expect Tanner Scheppers to be a good starter, I really do. He has good stuff. But, it really doesn’t matter who starts Opening Day. What matters is what the team is doing for six whole months.
Don’t make me use the cliche. Okay, fine. I’ll use it.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Four more days until Opening Day. FOUR.
GO GET ‘EM, TANNER!