Texas Rangers Opening Day starter: Tanner Scheppers?


With Darvish, Harrison, Holland and Lewis all on the shelf, the Rangers turn to Tanner Scheppers.

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In an unlikely twist, the Texas Rangers announced that their Opening Day start would be converted reliever Tanner Scheppers. This has been brought about by a series of unfortunate events that had nothing to do with Lemony Snicket -- as far as we know.

Yu Darvish was scratched from his scheduled start with a sore neck, though an examination on Wednesday revealed no structural damage, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, opening up not only room in the rotation, but the Opening Day start as well. Darvish's injury is just one of several the Rangers have suffered, with Derek Holland and Matt Harrison also coming up with various maladies over the offseason.

Scheppers will become just the second pitcher in history to make his first career start on Opening Day, joining Fernando Valenzuela, who appeared in 10 games (zero starts) in 1980, before starting the first game of the year for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981. Scheppers logged 76⅔ innings last year, all in relief, notching a 1.88 ERA with 59 strikeouts against 24 walks in 76 games. His most recent start was in 2011, where he started one of 28 games split between Double-A and Triple-A, where he allowed four hits and three earned runs in 2⅔ innings, striking out three and walking none.

As odd a selection for Opening Day starter as Scheppers might be, it's worth noting that he was at least good last year, which can't be said for some other Opening Day starters in recent years:

Some other Opening Day tidbits:
  • Scheppers will mark the fifth different Opening Day starter in five years for Texas
  • Francisco Liriano will mark the seventh different Opening Day Starter in seven years for Pittsburgh
  • Scott Kazmir will mark the ninth different Opening Day Starter in nine years for Oakland

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