Texas Rangers Manager Chris Woodward Announces Lance Lynn as Opening Day Starter
In his first Zoom call with local reporters since baseball officially returned, Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward didn't wait very long to grab everyone's attention.
The line of questioning concluded with asking when Woodward might announce his Opening Day starter—a selection he made before spring training was initially suspended.
“That’s a good question, I was waiting for someone to ask it," Woodward laughed.
"I can announce it now: Lance Lynn is going to start Opening Day," Woodward said. "They’ve already been informed. I’ve talked to all of them before this thing. I was actually going to announce it the next day. Unfortunately, we got shut down."
Woodward spoke to his decision being a rather difficult one, given how good both Lynn and Mike Minor were for the Rangers in 2019. Not to mention, the addition of two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber added another legitimate name to the running.
“When we traded for Corey Kluber, a lot of people told me, 'Okay, you’ve got your Opening Day starter,'" Woodward said. "I thought it was a little bit—I wouldn’t say disrespectful to Lance and Mike because I know Corey is a tremendous pitcher and a two-time Cy Young winner. But what Lance and Mike have done for our ball club the last couple of years, especially last year, they deserve that start."
Both pitchers threw 208 1/3 innings in 2019 and won a combined 30 games. Minor led all major league pitchers in bWAR while Lynn finished third. The two pitched well enough to earn Cy Young votes as well. Lynn finished fifth in the voting while Minor finished eighth. Either pitcher could have been honored with an Opening Day start.
Since Woodward started Minor on Opening Day in 2019, he decided to give the opportunity to Lynn this year.
"He did nothing to not deserve this start this year," Woodward said of Minor. "Mike was very understanding of that. Both of them had a heck of a year. Both had really good years last year and carried our ball club. They both deserve it, but at the end I felt like since I gave it to Mike last year, I’ll give it to Lance this year.”