When spring training started there was an intense battle for the fifth starters position and after Tommy Hunter went down to injury that opened up another position in the rotation giving two positions open. The obvious lock for the rotation was C.J. Wilson after a spectacular spring. Matt Harrison then beat out the rest of the pool to get the fifth starters position.
When Matt Harrison injured himself and needed to be placed onto the Disabled List, the Rangers decided to call up Derek Holland since he has done quite well so far this season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. When the day started the Rangers were tied with the Oakland Athletics after losing the first game of the series last night after battling for 13 innings and eventually losing 7-6.
In tonight’s game the Rangers sent Holland to the mound to make his 2010 season debut with the lead in the West on the line. I know that it is still early May, but anytime you have a lead in your division you need to focus on it and try to keep your momentum going. Holland was amazing in his debut pitching 6 scoreless innings only giving up five hits and one walk.
In his debut he had more than one strikeouts than innings pitched which is a great indication of a pitchers ability. The Rangers first priority is to win games, because we all want to see some postseason play. If a player is doing great in the rotation such as Holland, when Harrison returns he will probably be placed into the bullpen. Some players are amazing relievers and mediocre starters.
Thanks to a great performance by Holland in his debut and five home runs by the Rangers offense. Josh Hamilton hit his 7 home run of the season which leads the team along with Nelson Cruz and Vladimir Guerrero who also homered in the game. First baseman Justin Smoak and Catcher Max Ramirez, along with Michael Young also homered in tonight’s win.
If you look at the current roster compared to opening day there is some significant changes. Catcher Jarrod Saltlamacchia was put onto the Disabled list very early into the season. Then Taylor Teagarden struggled at the catchers position and Matt Treanor begin to catch most of the Rangers games. About the same time Teagarden was struggling, first baseman Chris Davis was struggling also. So in April they swapped Davis for Justin Smoak who made his major league debut and now has 4 home runs so far this season.
The Rangers eventually sent Taylor Teagarden to Triple-A OKC and recalled Catcher Max Ramirez to serve as the Rangers backup. Ramirez was the player who was going to be sent to Boston in the Mike Lowell trade before the Rangers medical team found that Lowell needed surgery and both players were returned to their respective teams.
The Rangers also made a change in their bullpen promoting Neftali Feliz to the closers position and moving closer Frank Francisco to the middle reliever position and since the move both pitchers have flourished. The most interesting thing about the current roster is the catchers positions on the roster.
Coming into spring training both players knew that it was going to be a battle to get the starting position and then at the end of spring training the Rangers decided to go with a platoon situation with both players. Then Saltlamacchia got injured and still hasn’t returned and Teagarden struggled, so neither are currently on the active 25 man roster. The Rangers will face the Athletics one more time tomorrow at 2:05pm before heading to Toronto for a three game series with the Blue Jays.