Monday, April 5th Game Preview
Toronto Blue Jays (0-0) vs. Texas Rangers (0-0)
Shawn Marcum (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Scott Feldman (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
1:05 p.m. CST in Arlington, Texas (Rangers Ballpark in Arlington)
TV: FSNSW | Radio: KRLD 105.3 FM
Notes: As of the time of this posting, I'll be headed to Arlington for my second Opening Day experience in as many years (and the fourth Opening Day I've written about for Baseball Time in Arlington); the difference this year is that I'll actually be able to post comments via phone, so you can expect riveting live updates on how the gift shops look like fire hazards of the highest magnitude and other miscellaneous observations from Section 42. Treat this as your all-purpose, all-everything Opening Day discussion thread, and, for a second consecutive year, enjoy the quintessential getting-pumped-for-Rangers-baseball video:
The site-related announcement referenced in the Clubhouse a week or two ago is still impending, and hopefully we get to go public with it in the next 24-48 hours, but in the meantime here is a little something related to it which serves as your heavily abridged season preview:
Worst-Case Scenario: Harden's velocity trends down, then bottoms out right before a three-month bout with elbow inflammation. Scott Feldman falls back to earth, C.J. Wilson runs out of gas after 100-110 innings, Colby Lewis is somewhat overmatched and the Rangers have to ultimately call upon Dustin Nippert/Guillermo Moscoso for rotation aid before it's all said and done. The defense remains above average, but is no longer exceptional, while the bullpen is beleaguered by inconsistency. Significant injuries strike two out of Guerrero/Hamilton/Kinsler, while Chris Davis ends up being supplanted by Justin Smoak or Mitch Moreland by the All-Star break due to performance difficulties. Ron Washington is axed around May 10th and holds a tearful farewell press conference. Outcome: 77-78 wins.
Best-Case Scenario: Rich Harden gives Texas 150-160 innings of 3.00-3.50 FIP baseball (and the C.J. Wilson experiment proves to be an unequivocal success), with the remainder of the starting rotation faring serviceably and the accumulated depth holding up. Francisco-Feliz-Oliver-Ray loosely resembles 2004's Cordero-Francisco-Mahay-Almanzar. The team defense remains in the top third of the league in terms of runs saved above average, while Vladimir Guerrero enjoys something of a renaissance season offensively and Josh Hamilton actually remains healthy for the most part. Ian Kinsler gets over the five-win hump. Ron Washington is heralded for winning in the face of adversity or something equally cliched. Outcome: 93-94 wins.
Enough of the chit-chat. Game on.