Friday, April 6, 2012
What to watch: Opening weekend
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Before each series, we're going to give you just a quick glance at a few things to watch. Let's start with Opening weekend:
* The Rangers are 20-20 on Opening Day. That includes three straight victories and the last two wins have come in the last at-bat. So if the club wins in the final at-bat today, make plans for a third-straight trip to the World Series (hey, it's a trend).
* Still, the club has dropped 9 of its last 14 openers.
* This is the fifth time the Rangers have opened a season against the Chicago White Sox and all of them were in Arlington. The last was 2000, a win for the Rangers. Texas is 2-2 in openers against Chicago.
* Robin Ventura will make his debut and we'll see if he runs into Nolan Ryan before Friday's game. The two haven't spoken since Ventura charged the mound back in Aug., 1993 in a famous brawl. But it's not because there's any animosity between the two. They just haven't crossed paths. Ryan respected Ventura as a player and respects him now.
* Former Ranger John Danks is on the mound for the White Sox. He was taken 9th overall in the 2003 draft by Texas and later traded as part of the deal for Brandon McCarthy. Read his thoughts here.
* David Murphy will start on Opening Day. It's just the second time that's happened in his career. He started on March 31, 2008 in Seattle as a rookie an dwent 2-for-4 with an RBI. He hasn't started an opener in the last three years and is one of only two players with 120-plus games the past three seasons that didn't start in an opener in that span (Alberto Callaspo is the other).
* Mitch Moreland won't be in the lineup, but expect to see him this weekend. Manager Ron Washington wanted the right-handed bats in the lineup against the lefty Danks, but RHPs Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd pitch on Saturday and Sunday for Chicago.