Major League Baseball’s regular season is here.
The 2018 campaign will begin on Thursday, March 29. From there, the 30 teams will make the six-month trek with an eye on reaching the postseason. Of course, not every team has realistic playoff aspirations. But that’s the beauty of Opening Day: everyone can pretend otherwise.
Astros vs Rangers 2018 Opening Day
The defending champs open their title defense with an in-state game against the Rangers.
The Astros are starting Justin Verlander in place of Dallas Keuchel, which is a bit of a surprise — not that Verlander isn’t worthy, just seniority tends to win out. Following the trade that sent him to Houston, he reeled off five starts that saw him average nearly seven innings per pop while posting a 1.06 ERA and 8.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Factor in Verlander’s gutsy postseason performance, and his reputation as a big-game pitcher is well-earned.
Hamels is no stranger to getting the nod in important situations, either. Unfortunately, his 2017 wasn’t honeycombed with highlights like Verlander’s was. Though Hamels managed a 112 ERA+, he saw his strikeout rate dip to a career-worst 6.4 mark. Predictably, he also tallied the worst strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career. Hamels will need to miss more bats if he’s to return to his old, front-of-the-rotation self.
Here’s how you can catch the Houston Astros vs Texas Rangers game:
- Date: Thursday, Mar. 29
- Time: 3:35 p.m. ET
- Location: Globe Life Park in Arlington — Arlington, Texas
- Starting Pitchers: Justin Verlander vs. Cole Hamels
- TV Channel: ESPN (check local listings)
- Online Stream: MLB(dot)tv, WatchESPN