Sep 16, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Alex Rios (51) claps his hands as he scored a run during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay preview

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Saunders gets the start to open the series in St. Petersburg, Florida against the Tampa Bay Rays. Saunders was signed a couple weeks into Spring Training and was almost guaranteed a spot in the rotation. Saunders hasn’t pitched well and looks like he did last year in Seattle where he had an ERA over 5 and a win-loss record of 11-16. He needs to come out and get outs early and often. With Yu Darvish coming back Sunday and Colby Lewis nearing his comeback, from hip surgery, Saunders could be pitching for his spot.


Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Martinez looks to get his MLB debut on Saturday night. Martinez is this year’s Nick Tepesch, in that both were not relative names when they were named to the starting rotation coming out of spring. Martinez did look good in his game against Houston striking out the side in his first inning. The best part about his performance to me was his ability to cause swings and misses. He will be facing a good lineup that stars Evan Longoria and Wil Myer. He will be the 3rd Ranger in the first 5 games to make his first career start.

Yu Darvish will face them Sunday in the rubber match of the series. Yu’s debut is a breath of fresh air to Rangers fans, who have had to deal with injuries all spring. He has the chance to win 20 games and strikeout 300 batters this season. Darvish is a perennial Cy Young winner so getting him back after only missing 1 start is great for this team.

Records against Tampa Bay:

Joe Saunders:  0-3  15IP  20H  14ER  7K  9BB

Nick Martinez: Making his MLB debut

Yu Darvish: 2-0  20IP  13H  3ER  22K 10BB

The Rays will match the Rangers with Jake Odorizzi on Friday, David Price on Saturday and Alex Cobb on Sunday.

The Rangers lineup hopes to continue their production. In the first 3 games of the season the Rangers as a team are hitting .311 with 33 hits and 17 runs scored while getting 12 walks. The Rangers have not disappointed when it comes to entertaining the fans. They were in a shootout to start the season and have had 2 straight walk-offs. My player to watch is Prince Fielder who has had success batting .313 in 18 games against the Rays. Prince could have been pressing the first 3 games of the season trying to make a good impression on the home fans. Maybe going to Tampa could help Fielder relax and maybe hit a home run or 2.

Tags: Joe Saunders Nick Martinez Prince Fielder Texas Rangers Yu Darvish

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