Much like the Cubs’ own Opening Day starter, the Rangers’ anointed Opening Day starter only matters so much. But, since the Cubs will face the Rangers only so many times this year, I suppose it does matter a little bit which starting pitchers they’ll be seeing.
Mostly, I just get excited having a reason to think about Opening Day, which is just 17 days away.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 10, 2019
So, Mike Minor, who was signed to a healthy three-year, $28 million deal before last season on the strength of a dominating turn as a reliever, and who was subsequently converted back into a so-so starter, will take the ball against the Cubs on Opening Day.
Minor, 31, posted a 4.18 ERA (9% better than league average) and a 4.43 FIP (1% worse) for the Rangers last year over 28 starts and just 157.0 innings. He had really weird splits last year, primarily because he dominated fellow lefties in every conceivable way except giving up 6 homers in just 28.1 innings against lefties. So, then, his splits actually show that he was “better” against righties … but, eh, he’s pretty split neutral for his career. So, my guess is, if anything, he skews traditional splits.
That suggests we’ll see Albert Almora in center field and leading off for the Cubs on Opening Day, with the Cubs otherwise getting some additional righties into the lineup – perhaps Ben Zobrist starts in a corner outfield spot? perhaps David Bote gets a start at second base? Of course, Daniel Descalso is a heavy reverse split guy, so you might actually want him in there against the lefty Minor.
I know. I’m being silly. This is just one singular lineup for a game more than two weeks away. But that’s how ready I am for baseball. Aren’t you?