On Wednesday, the Rangers made the unsurprising announcement that Cole Hamels would be the Opening Day starter against the Seattle Mariners and King Felix on April 4 at Globe Life Park.
With that announcement, recent names were brought up who toed the rubber for the Rangers in the ceremonial Opening Day start, and looking back in recent history, Cole Hamels has a lot on all those names in terms of skins on the wall.
Hamels is coming off a strong year after joining the Rangers at the deadline, and even before that. If you remember, he tossed a no-hitter in his final start with the Phillies before the trade to Texas.
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After that, he went 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 12 starts with the Rangers before a stellar postseason.
So Hamels has all the makings of an Opening Day starter, generally reserved for the staff ace. Yu Darvish has never made one because he's either been out for the year (2015) or dealing with an injury out of spring training (2014).
So let's compare Hamels' ace-ness to the other guys on the list that includes seven different starters in the past seven seasons. We'll list stats from the previous season leading into the Opening Day start.
- 2009: Kevin Millwood — 9-10, 5.07 ERA
- 2010: Scott Feldman — 17-8, 4.08 ERA
- 2011: C.J. Wilson — 15-8, 3.35 ERA
- 2012: Colby Lewis — 14-10, 4.40 ERA
- 2013: Matt Harrison — 18-11, 3.29 ERA
- 2014: Tanner Scheppers — 6-2, 1.88 ERA (as reliever, had never made start prior to 2014)
- 2015: Yovani Gallardo — 8-11, 3.51 ERA (with Milwaukee Brewers)
Hamels was 13-8 with a 3.65 ERA over the course of the whole season in 2015 but went 7-1 as a Ranger, and with Darvish on the mend still, he was an obvious choice.