On this date in Texas Rangers history, the Rangers held its earliest opening day, home or away, to that point in franchise history.
The game was on March 29, 2018 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, and the Rangers hosted the Houston Astros in a four-game series to start the season. The Rangers ended up losing the game, 4-1. They would end up setting a new franchise mark for earliest opening day just one season later in 2019.
The game was a battle of aces, as Houston — the defending World Champions — threw Justin Verlander against Texas ace Cole Hamels. Verlander won that matchup and the game. He threw six shutout innings, giving up four hits and two walks, while striking out five. Hamels threw nearly six innings, gave up three runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out seven. He took the loss.
Houston held the lead the entire game, scoring single runs in the first, third, fourth, and eighth innings as the Astros nearly pulled off the shutout before the Rangers scored a lone run in the bottom of the ninth.
Elvis Andrus and Adrián Beltré each had two hits. Andrus scored the Rangers’ only run.
It ended up being a forgettable season for the Rangers, as the finished 67-95, which was last in the American League West. The season led to manager Jeff Banister’s dismissal before the end of the season, as Don Wakamatsu managed the final 10 games of the season.
On the other hand, the Astros were later punished by Major League Baseball for their sign-stealing scandal that played a role in their 2017 World Championship season. Looking back in hindsight, hosting the defending champions on Opening Day would have been treated very differently if we knew what we know now.
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