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Rangers tab Matt Harrison as Opening Day starter

Mar 21, 2013, 10:32 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals v Texas Rangers Getty Images

The 2013 season will begin next Sunday night when the Rangers face the Astros at Minute Maid Park at 8:05 p.m. ET. And now we have the pitching matchup locked in.

According to Richard Durrett and Ron Matejko of ESPN Dallas, Rangers manager Ron Washington announced this evening that Matt Harrison will be the club’s Opening Day starter. Bud Norris was already announced as the starter for Houston earlier this week.

This will be the first Opening Day start of Harrison’s career. With a 3.34 ERA and 32 wins over the past two seasons, the 27-year-old southpaw is plenty worthy of the assignment.

Yu Darvish, who posted a 3.90 ERA and 221 strikeouts over 191 1/3 innings in his first season stateside last year, is set to pitch the second game of the season for the Rangers.

  1. gt929 - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Darvish may have more upside, but, by virtue of being the Rangers’ best pitcher in 2012, Harrison earned the opening day start. I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Rangers give it to Darvish, though, just because Harry pitches quite well when he’s pissed, or feels he’s been slighted.

    • beefytrout - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      Harrison certainly earned the nod, and you’re right about Harrison pitching better when he’s pissed. But now he’s the lead dog on the staff (and the highest paid as well), so the only thing he has left to get pissed about is if he throws out a clunker. Which, as the lead dog, should be few and far between.

  2. kiwicricket - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Harrison vs Norris….Not really one match-up I’d pay twice normal regular season value for.

  3. jessethegreat - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    When did Harrison get a larger contract than Darvish? Did I miss something?

    • jeffa43 - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:19 AM

      Where in the article does it say he made more money?

      It just says he had pitched better.

    • beefytrout - Mar 22, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      Harrison: 5yr/55m
      Darvish: 6yr/60m (Darvish has option to void 6th year)

      I was going by average annual salary, which puts Harrison over Darvish $11m to $10m. If Darvish voids the final year, total $ also goes to Harrison.

  4. kelshannon19 - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    So game two is Harrell vs Darvish. Might be the better game.

  5. jessethegreat - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    Thanks beefy!

    Though it’s not technically in “his contract”, this does not include the posting fee….. So Harry’s got the greater avg salary, but Rangers still have more $$$ invested in Darvish.

    Both are fine pitchers, but as a Rangers fan…. Which do you think is more important in dictating the teams success this year?

    Here’s to wishing your team much success this year vs the free spending Angels!

    • beefytrout - Mar 22, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      Between Harrison and Darvish? I guess it’s how you look at it. Harrison needs to maintain his level of performance, while Darvish needs to take a step forward. There’s no doubt they are the 1-2 in the rotation, but they’re so close that it’s basically 1 and 1a.

      In my opinion, the pitcher who is the most important to dictating the team’s success is Derek Holland. He took big steps forward in 2011 and then regressed a bit last year. The Rangers need him to be a solid and dependable starter this year, because the 4 and 5 slots are questionable at best.

      • artisan3m - Mar 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        Totally agree. Holland responded to the pressure in 2011 and rose to the occasion with some very good starts. That pressure was not there last year with Lee gone and so many other pitchers with injury. The pressure is back on in 2013 because following Harrison and Darvish simply ratchets up the expectation. Plus, Derek needs to grow up ~ mentally. He has all the tools but he can’t be the ‘puppy’ any longer. I think the sleeper in the rotation is Ogando who may have a chip on his shoulder for being sent to the bullpen after an All Star selection.

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