MLB opening day is less than a week away. How will the Texas Rangers batting lineup look when they open Thursday vs. the Chicago Cubs?
In five days, we’ll see how first year manager Chris Woodward compiles his first regular season lineup. The Texas Rangers will open against the Chicago Cubs. Three-time World Series champion Jon Lester will make the opening day start for the Cubs. Former Ranger, Yu Darvish, is expected to start game two, and former Ranger, Cole Hamels, is expected to start game three.
Needless to say, the Texas offense will have its hands full throughout the opening series. How will their lineup look?
Opening Day Lineup Projection
- Shin-Soo Choo
- Rougned Odor
- Elvis Andrus
- Nomar Mazara
- Joey Gallo
- Asdrubal Cabrera
- Ronald Guzman
- Jeff Mathis
- Delino DeShields
Woodward confirmed Choo being his leadoff man to start the year. He’s penciled in Odor, Andrus, Mazara and Gallo as the 2-5 for most of spring training.
There’s still the possibility that Gallo misses opening day with a groin strain; however, he’s already returned to action, playing in games with the Rangers’ Triple-A and Single-A squads on Friday and Saturday. He said it himself that he’ll be in the lineup on opening day.
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The switch-hitting Cabrera will cut the long string of lefty bats against left-handed pitchers. He’ll also make opposing managers think twice about leaving a southpaw in to face him and Ronald Guzman.
I can’t say with certainty that Mathis will start behind the plate in the Rangers’ first game, but he did catch Mike Minor yesterday in his assumed final start before Thursday.
DeShields will act as a secondary leadoff hitter with his great speed out of the nine spot in the order. Hunter Pence will likely get a start somewhere in the opening series, perhaps game three against the left-handed Hamels. Isiah Kiner-Falefa will get at least one start behind the plate.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Woodward sported nearly the same lineup throughout the first few weeks of the regular season. Managers like consistency, especially at that top. We’ll see if Odor can handle hitting second. He had a lot of success over 193 at-bats in the two-hole in 2018, posting a slash line of .264/.341/.518.
The Texas Rangers could use some power from Andrus out of the third spot, but that’s not a must. He should provide the consistency needed from the three spot, and he’ll cut another long string of left-handed hitters — Choo, Odor, Mazara, Gallo.
Cabrera, Kiner-Falefa and Guzman will be interesting watches this year. If one, two, or all three of them have success, will Woodward be willing to restructure the lineup? Guzman has the potential to be a middle of the order bat, Kiner-Falefa has the potential to be a top of the order bat, and Cabrera has hit towards the top of lineups for a decent chunk of his lengthy career.
The Texas Rangers lineup could be very good; it could also be average. We’ll just have to see how it goes throughout the year. They’re capable of being a powerful bunch, but they’ll need to keep the strikeout totals moderate and find ways to reach base often in order to maximize their output. Five days away!