ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton is coming back to Arlington as a member of the Los Angeles Angels. That should make for a festive home opener at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington -- not that this day needed anything to make it special -- and an intense three-game series.
The Texas Rangers did what they needed to do after losing the season opener in Houston, shutting out the Astros in consecutive games. The Angels lost two straight games in Cincinnati with Hamilton striking out for the final out in Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Reds.
Here are five things to look for:
Hamilton: It's difficult to know exactly how Rangers fans will react to Hamilton's return after the team collapsed at the end of last season. Many fans pointed the finger at Hamilton, forgetting about the special moments he gave them. The guess is there will be a mix of applause and boos. Hamilton had a rough opening series against the Reds, going 1-for-12 with a two-run single.
Darvish vs. Weaver: Super pitching matchup in Sunday's series finale. The Rangers' Yu Darvish will pitch for the first time since coming within one out of a perfect game Tuesday in Houston. Jared Weaver gave up a run in six innings in the Angels' opener against the Reds.
Rangers' No. 3 hole: The Rangers have gone from Josh Hamilton, more likely to swing at the first pitch than not, to Lance Berkman, who thrives on plate discipline. Berkman has reached base in nine of 12 plate appearances. Can he continue to have good at-bats in his new home ballpark with Hamilton in the shadows?
Joe Nathan: The Rangers' closer was brilliant in his first appearance of the season Wednesday against the Astros, striking out the side to secure a 4-0 victory. The Rangers would love to get to Nathan in this series and give him a chance to slam the door on the Angels.
Mike Trout: The 2012 American League Rookie of the Year tortured the Rangers last season. He batted .338 with six home runs and seven stolen bases. He scored 21 runs and had 17 RBIs. Rangers pitchers gave him way too many free passes with 16 walks, giving him even more chances to do damage on the basepaths. Trout was a non-factor as the Angels lost two out of three games in Cincinnati. He had two hits in 11 at-bats and didn't score a run or steal a base. Hopefully the Rangers stole the Reds' secret to stopping him.