MLB Opening Day 2013 sees the Texas Rangers and new AL West rival Houston Astros kicking off the 2013 season on March 31. According to ESPN, the opening day starters for the two Lone Star ball clubs will be Matt Harrison for the Rangers and Bud Norris for the Astros.
This is a classic David vs. Goliath tale, as the Rangers have made the postseason three years in a row now, making it to the World Series in 2010 and 2011, while losing in the new wildcard round in 2012. On the other hand, the Astros have the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball, and tonight’s starting pitcher, Bud Norris, is the highest paid player on the team, at $3 million, which is less than the league average.
Texas is going through some changes though, losing three of their star batters in the offseason, with former MVP Josh Hamilton moving to division rival Los Angeles Angels, career Ranger Michael Young traded to the Philadelphia Phillies and catcher/DH Mike Napoli leaving as well.
Replacing them is former Houston Astros great Lance Berkman, former Chicago White Sox star catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and a platoon of youngsters including Leonys Martin, Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon attempting to replace Josh Hamilton in centerfield.
Returning for Texas is the rest of their powerhouse lineup, including Mitch Moreland at first, Ian Kinsler at second, Elvis Andrus at short, Adrian Beltre at third, Nelson Cruz in right and David Murphy in left.
Houston, on the other hand, is stacked with young, inexpensive unknowns. The biggest names in the batting order are former Cardinals’ star Rick Ankiel in right field and Carlos Pena at DH. He is joined by Jason Castro (C), Brett Wallace (1B), Jose Altuve (2B), Matt Dominguez (3B), Ronny Cedeno (SS), Chris Carter (LF) and Justin Maxwell (CF).
The MLB Opening Day 2013 game between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros starts at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN.
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