Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Apologies to Gamingboy for stealing his thunder…
They’re in far different places, the Rangers and Astros, these two franchises that will open the 2013 Major League Baseball season Sunday night at Minute Maid Park at 8:05 ET on ESPN. The Rangers are constructed for the short term, hoping to win now and knowing that anything short of another World Series would be a bitter disappointment. Life is really simple for the Rangers in that way.
Even after an offseason in which Josh Hamilton and others departed via free agency and Michael Young was traded, the Rangers believe they’re good enough to win. Their lineup has been solidified by the signings of Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski, and if right-hander Yu Darvish has a breakout season, the Rangers probably are good enough to play deep into October.
There are questions about the quality of the rotation and the reliability of the bullpen in front of closer Joe Nathan. Young’s departure significantly shifts the clubhouse dynamics, and after last season’s late collapse, the Rangers could use a good start to change the conversation.
But they’re good, and with a very good farm system, they’re likely to hang with the A’s and Angels in an American League West race that’s expected to be extremely competitive.
For the Astros, this is a season of transition, beginning with their move to the American League, complete with new colors and a new logo. They’ve got a rookie manager in Bo Porter and see this Opening Day as the next step in the reconstruction of a franchise. They believe they’re doing it the right way, building from the ground up, predicting that once they’re back that they’re back for good.
“Clearly, when you’re moving from one league to another, that’s a monumental change,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “To have the opportunity to showcase our new uniforms, our new manager, our new staff, a lot of our new players on the national stage like that against a powerhouse like the Rangers is a good thing for baseball and a good thing for the Astros. Hopefully, people will see something they like that night and decide they want to come down to the ballpark.”
This season’s success won’t be measured strictly in terms of the won-loss record. But there’s also a quiet confidence inside the organization that they’re going to be far better than people think and that they’re going to be competitive sooner rather than later.
For those of us so desperate for baseball we’ll even watch the
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