KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 4: Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on September 4, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
When the Texas Rangers open the 2013 season in Houston on March 31, in a nationally televised, primetime game, there's still a question of who might be on the mound for the Rangers to start the game.
Yu Darvish, the second-year Japanese import who led all rookies with 221 strikeouts last season, is without question the ace of the Rangers' staff. Matt Harrison, the hard-nosed lefty who led the Rangers with 18 wins last year, was the team's most consistent starter last year.
So who starts that primetime game in Houston?
If you're talking rotation purposes and "best-to-worst," the answer is likely Darvish, who put up a 3.90 ERA last year, winning 16 games. He was ace-like over his final eight starts of 2012 after cutting back on his walks. But in recent history, the Rangers have awarded people with the honor of starting on Opening Day, and if that trend continues you'd have to lean toward Harrison getting the nod.
The lefty went 18-11 last season with a staff-best 3.29 ERA, after posting a 3.39 in 2011.
The past three Opening Day starters for the Rangers have been Scott Feldman, C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis, all of whom were arguably the team's best pitcher in the prior season. If that trend holds true, the answer should be Harrison.
"It's definitely an honor, but it's not the thing I'm going to retire on if I don't," Harrison told the Star-Telegram. "When I get the ball isn't that important to me."
And it shouldn't be, but Harrison has earned the honor.