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 2014 season.
The Opponent: The Philadelphia Phillies are in a bad way right now, and despite their huge payroll and aging superstars, they aren't expected to contend for a playoff spot.
Past Meetings: The teams haven't met since Interleague play in 2011, the year the Rangers lost their second straight World Series. They faced Cliff Lee in one of those games, and the former Ranger worked eight innings, allowing five hits in a 2-0 Phillies win. He struck out 10 Rangers — Adrian Beltre once and Mitch Moreland twice. In that three-game series in Philly, the Rangers won just one, a complete-game win by Matt Harrison.
Pitching Matchups: Monday — Cliff Lee vs. Tanner Scheppers; Tuesday — A.J. Burnett vs. Martin Perez; Wednesday — Kyle Kendrick vs. Robbie Ross
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What's Hot: Scheppers and Ross both pitched well enough this spring to earn spots in the Rangers' makeshift starting rotation. As for the bats, none stood out more than that of Arlington native Michael Choice, who was acquired via trade from Oakland for fan favorite Craig Gentry this winter. Slugging first baseman Prince Fielder's first swing in Globe Life Park was a home run in an exhibition win over Quintana Roo on Thursday.
What's Not: Obviously, you put very little stock into veterans struggling at the plate in the spring, but the Rangers' new leadoff hitter did. Newly signed free agent on-base machine Shin-Soo Choo hit just .161 in 56 at-bats.
Familiar Faces: The biggest impact trade the Rangers have ever made, at least from an immediacy standpoint (so not counting the Mark Teixeira trade), was when they acquired Cliff Lee from Seattle in July 2010. Months later, he signed with the Phillies, but what Lee did for the Rangers in his short time was phenomenal. He pitched the Rangers to their first World Series and gave the club legitimacy. Here's hoping he gets a nice ovation when his name is announced Monday afternoon by Chuck Morgan. And after that, it's on.