On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2012 season.
The Opponent: The Rangers' tour of the worst teams in the National League continues with a visit from the Rockies. While the Astros and Padres were expected to be awful, the Rockies are a mild disappointment this season at 26-42 after drawing some consideration as a playoff contender during the offseason.
Past 2012 Meetings: None, which is too bad for the Rangers. The Rockies are 1-11 against the American League this season, which might make the Rangers petition to have them replace the Astros as the team's annual opponent.
Pitching Matchups: Friday - Christian Friedrich (4-3, 5.60 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (First start of season); Saturday - Josh Outman (0-3, 8.41) vs. Colby Lewis (6-5, 3.00); Sunday - Alex White (2-5, 6.06) vs. Matt Harrison (9-3, 3.41)
What's Hot: At long last, Oswalt's debut is here. He went from being discussed as an insurance policy during spring training to a necessary part of the machine thanks to the injuries to Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz. What we're going to see from Oswalt is a mystery, remember that he's a long way removed from his days as an ace, but now is as good a time as any to start figuring it out.
Oswalt is joining a pitching staff that's humming right now, something that is either a result of everyone making adjustments after a rough patch or of the schedule taking a turn for the easy. Either way, every day that the Rangers thrive without their offense clicking is a good day for the team's ultimate chances of reaching their goal.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy has switched the team to a four-man rotation with strict 75-pitch limits on starters. The idea is to maximize the contributions of the bullpen, which seems like a dubious peg on which to hang your hat but we applaud any sign that managers are actually thinking down there in the dugout.
What's Not: Alas, it feels like this move is the precursor to Tracy's firing later this summer. The Rockies pitching staff has been a horror show thus far and raising the workload of relief pitchers seems destined to exacerbate the underlying problem. If the starting pitching doesn't get better fast, the Rockies will remain in the gutter.
Troy Tulowitzki is on the shelf after groin surgery, robbing the Rockies of their shortstop and robbing baseball of one of its more exciting players. Colorado has scored the most runs in the National League, so the offense should survive even while the overall team suffers with Tulowitzki out of action.
Scott Feldman complained about being dropped from the rotation. Seriously. That's like a slingshot complaining when a soldier opts to use a machine gun.
Familiar Faces: Jamie Moyer didn't make it to this series, which we won't let get in the way of us breaking out a Rangers-flavored installment of "Jamie Moyer is SOOOOOO old." When Jamie Moyer was on the Rangers, George H.W. Bush was President of the United States and George W. Bush had just bought the team. Ruben Sierra was 23 in Moyer's first year with the team and Sammy Sosa was 20. Jim Sundberg and Buddy Bell were both still playing. Nolan Ryan and Charlie Hough were both in the rotation and considerably younger than Moyer is right now.