With the beginning of spring training games less than a week away, it’s a good time to look ahead to the Reds opponents for the 2016 season.
Texas (88-74, 1st in AL West, Lost ALDS 3-2 to Toronto)
Key Additions: Michael McKenry, Justin Ruggiano,Tom Wilhelmsen
Key Departures: Mike Napoli, Adam Rosales,Leonys Martin, Anthony Bass, Drew Stubbs, Yovani Gallardo, Will Venable,
Reds Dates @Tex June 21-22, Aug. 23-24
The Texas Rangers made a strong push in the second half of the season and ended up surpassing the Angels and Astros to end the season in first place. This was quite a remarkable task for first year manager Jeff Bannister, who took home AL Manager of the Year honors. Bannister is very familiar to the NL Central as he served as the bench coach for Clint Hurdle in Pittsburgh from 2011-14.
One of the big reasons for their second half rebound was the acquisition of Cole Hamels at the trade deadline. Hamels went 7-1 for the Rangers and was a nice compliment to 17-game winner Colby Lewis. The bullpen was also helped greatly last season by the emergence of Shawn Tolleson as the team’s closer. He successfully took over the role in May and converted 35 of the 37 save chances.
Texas also benefited from a healthy Prince Fielder who led the Rangers in nearly every offensive category including average (.305), hits (187), RBI (98), and was tied with Mitch Moreland for home runs (23). Former Red Shin-Soo Choo also tied a career high in homers with 22, while Adrian Beltre eclipsed the 400 homer mark with his 18 blasts last season.
One player the Rangers will not have in their lineup to begin the season is another one-time Red in Josh Hamilton. He seemed to be rejuvenated by his return to Texas after he was traded by the Angels at the beginning of the season, hitting .263 with eight homers and 25 RBI. Hamilton will start the season on the disabled list and will not likely return to the club until May. Also expected to return to the team in May is pitcher Yu Darvish, who last pitched for the Rangers on Aug. 9, 2014, before he underwent Tommy John Surgery that caused him to miss the remainder of 2014 and all of 2015.
The Rangers and Reds will splitting their four game series with two games in Arlington in late June and two in Cincinnati in late August. Here’s a look at what the Rangers might look like in those series (as of 2/24/16).
Starting Rotation (2015 stats):
1. Cole Hamels (13-8, 3.65 ERA w/Phillies & Rangers)
2. Colby Lewis (17-9, 4.66 ERA)
3. Yu Darvish (out until May)
4. Derek Holland (4-3, 4.91 ERA)
5. Martin Perez (3-6, 4.46 ERA)
6. Chi Chi Gonzalez (4-6, 3.90 ERA)
Closer: Shawn Tolleson (6-4, 2.99 ERA, 35 saves)
C. Robinson Chirinos (78 games played, .232 avg, 10 HR, 34 RBI)
1B. Mitch Moreland (132 GP, .278 avg, 23 HR, 85 RBI)
2B. Rougned Odor (120 GP, .261 avg, 16 HR, 61 RBI)
3B. Adrian Beltre (143 GP, .287 avg, 18 HR, 83 RBI)
SS. Elvis Andrus (160 GP, .258 avg, 7 HR, 62 RBI, 25 SB)
LF. Joey Gallo (36 GP, .204 avg, 6 HR, 14 RBI)
CF. Delino DeShields Jr. (121 GP, .261 avg, 2 HR, 37 RBI, 25 SB)
RF. Shin-Soo Choo (149 GP, .276 avg, 22 HR, 82 RBI)
DH. Prince Fielder (158 GP, .305 avg, 23 HR, 93 RBI, All-Star)
C. Chris Gimenez
2B. Jurickson Profar
3B. Ryan Rua
IF. Hanser Alberto
OF. Josh Hamilton (on DL), Nomar Mazara, Justin Ruggiano (w/Dodgers & Mariners in 2015)