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:
- 2002 San Diego Padres: Kevin Jarvis - Jarvis was coming off an ERA+ of 83 in 2001, earning him the honor
- 2008 Washington Nationals: Odalis Perez - Perez managed an 82 ERA+ in 2007, and was out of baseball following 2008
- 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates: Kevin Correia - Correa failed his way to a 68 ERA + in 2010
- 2013 Minnesota Twins: Vance Worley - Worley was barely below average per ERA+ (96) in 2012 but dropped off to a brutal 56 in 2013 and is no longer on the team.