ARLINGTON (KFDX/KJTL) — In the words of Chuck Morgan, the longtime Public Address Announcer for the Texas Rangers, “It is baseball time in Texas!”
Thursday, March 30, 2023, marks Opening Day for Major League Baseball, with all 30 teams in the league taking the field to open their 2023 seasons.
The Texas Rangers will face the Philadelphia Phillies to begin the season at home at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The first pitch is set for 3:05 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.
Rangers starters for Opening Day
Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series winner during his time with the San Francisco Giants between 2006 and 2019, announced the starting lineup for Opening Day on Friday, March 24, 2023.
Bochy was hired to take the reigns of the Rangers after former manager Jeff Bannister was fired during the 2022 season after leading Texas to its sixth consecutive losing season.
The Opening Day lineup for the Texas Rangers can be found below:
- Marcus Semien (Second Base)
- Corey Seager (Short Stop)
- Nathaniel Lowe (First Base)
- Adolis Garcia (Center Field)
- Josh Jung (Third Base)
- Jonah Heim (Catcher)
- Robbie Grossman (Right Field)
- Brad Miller (Designated Hitter)
- Josh Smith (Left Field)
Eyes of Texas turn to new ace pitcher Jacob deGrom
Taking the mound for the Rangers is the newly-acquired ace pitcher Jacob deGrom, formerly of the New York Mets. deGrom was the most notable offseason acquisition for the club and one of many new faces in the starting pitching rotation for Texas in the 2023 campaign.
deGrom brings an impressive resume to Arlington. He’s been named to four All-Star games, most recently in 2021. He won the National League Cy Young award in consecutive seasons in 2018 and 2019, and was the National League strikeout leader in 2019 and 2020.
Following two injury-plagued seasons in 2021 and 2022, deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million contract with the Texas Rangers.
deGrom has a career record of 82 wins against 57 losses. His career earned run average is 2.52 runs per nine innings pitched, with 1,607 career strikeouts and a WHIP of exactly 1.0.
Rangers, Phillies hopeful to begin 2023 season
Both teams bring sky-high expectations into the 2023 season, for very different reasons.
For the Rangers, this marks a second straight offseason with big bucks spent by the front office, this time on pitching. After acquiring infielders Marcus Semien and Corey Seager ahead of the 2022 season, additions like deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jake Odorizzi made the headlines for the Rangers before 2023’s first pitch.
With the expected boost to the starting pitching rotation for the Rangers, combined with the offensive potential of Seager, Semien, and company, anything above a .500 record at the end of the season is a win.
Philadelphia is coming off a trip to the World Series, where they fell short of winning it all. Additionally, they signed All-Star Short Stop Trea Turner to an 11-year, $300 million contract. However, they’ll begin the season without Bryce Harper.
MLB rule changes may play major role
Both teams will also have to deal with some major league-wide rule changes that could affect the outcomes of their seasons.
Defensive infield shifts are no longer an option for teams, meaning more hits will likely be recorded moving forward. One Rangers player that may be more excited than anyone is Corey Seager, who lead the league with 30 hits that were taken away by the shift in 2022.
The base pads at all four bases have also increased in size, meaning steals will likely increase across the league. Close plays that may have been outs in 2022 may be called safe in 2023 due to the increase in size.
Likely the most controversial change taking effect in the 2023 season is the implementation of a pitch clock. In an effort to speed up the game, pitchers will now have only 20 seconds to begin throwing the next pitch during an at-bat.
These changes all look to have a major impact on the pace of a typical baseball game with an emphasis on increasing offensive production. Only time will tell whether or not the rule changes will have their intended effects on the game.
Rangers vs. Phillies: How to watch
The Opening Day matchup between the Texas Rangers and the Philadelphia Phillies is set to get underway at 3:05 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, 2023.
The game can be watched on Bally Sports Southwest and MLBtv. Spectrum cable subscribers can find Balley Sports Southwest on channel 53.