When the Texas Rangers take to the field for Opening Day, their opponent will be the 2022 National League Pennant-winning, Philidelphia Phillies. This will mark the second time in the Rangers' franchise history that they will face off against the Phillies organization to open a season.
The first such meeting occurred in 2014. Ranger's fans may remember this season as one of the more forgettable. Of course, if it is that forgettable, hopefully, you have indeed forgotten it! That season started with much promise and ended with a record of 67W - 95L, and the departure of Ron Washington as manager, prior to the season's conclusion. Sound familiar? Minus the optimism that went along with the start of that 2014 season, it mirrors last season nearly identically. In 2022, the Rangers went 68w - 94L, and manager Chris Woodward was let go before the season was over.
Texas Ranger to face Philidelphia Phillies on Opening Day for second time
That 2014 Opening Day matchup was supposed to pit the Ranger's ace Yu Darvish against the Phillies' ace Cliff Lee. Unfortunately for the Rangers, Darvish had a stiff neck that caused him to be scratched from making the start. That opened the door for Tanner Scheppers to be the Opening Day starter for the Texas Rangers. Predominately a reliever throughout his six-year MLB career, this start accounted for a quarter of Scheppers' career starts as he logged just three others (all four came in 2014).
Scheppers struggled, and despite a valiant effort, gave up seven runs on eight hits, throwing 93 pitches in his four innings of work. Even with this less-than-ideal outing, he remarkably wasn't saddled for the loss. With Cliff Lee on the mound for the Phillies the Ranger's offense went to work. Scoring four runs in the second and another three in the third, the Rangers actually took a brief lead at seven to six through three innings. That didn't last long, as the Phillies got eight more runs, and even though the Rangers plated 10 in all, the final score was Philidelphia 14, Texas 10.
With Aaron Nola pitching for the Phillies and Jacob deGrom going for the Rangers, it would be hard to fathom this year's version as being quite the offensive explosion it was back in 2014. Both teams have plenty of firepower on the offensive side, but good pitching will take care of good hitting more times than not.
There is another element of the 2014 game that is nearly sure to be different this time around, and that is the time that it takes to play the game. The 2014 game clocked in at three hours and thirty-six minutes, so with the new pitch clock, there is little doubt that the 2023 game will be played at a quicker pace. The Rangers will look to even the Opening Day record against the Phillies and start down the path of reaching the playoffs yet again.