The Whirling Darvish and his Rangers teammates are back. AFLO/
The Whirling Darvish and his Rangers teammates are back. AFLO/

Remember how the Texas Rangers’ season ended last year? Wow, that was anticlimactic. You probably have another word for it that’s just as good. They went this off-season without acquiring any big-ticket players, but they still figure to be contenders in the American League if they can scrape through the spring, bring back their injured players in good shape, and get the expected production from rookie Jurickson Profar.

Their first opponent at home this year is the Los Angeles Angels, with newly acquired Josh Hamilton playing in right field instead of center. Given how the slugger’s tenure with the Rangers ended (and his off-season comments about the team), the fanbase probably won’t give him a warm welcome. The Angels figure to get lots of hits this year, but their pitching rotation doesn’t look as intimidating as it did in 2012. With the Oakland A’s due for a regression to the mean, the Rangers can still feel good about their chances for a wild-card berth at least.

After the Angels leave town, the Rangers will welcome the Tampa Bay Rays, whose pitching rotation looks as scary as anyone’s. Home fans will get to see their team thrown into the deep end of the pool to start the year. Let’s see how well they cope.



[box_info]The Texas Rangers play the Los Angeles Angels Fri-Sun and the Tampa Bay Rays Apr 8-10 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, 1200 Ballpark Way, Arlington. Tickets are $11-150. Call 817-273-5100.[/box_info]