I told Jared that I wasn’t going to write anything today, but that was a lot more about sticking it to “The Man” than it was refusing to actually do any work. I want to (quickly) share a thought or two about the state of the Rangers’ starting rotation and what can be done about the recent thinning of the ranks.
Most of you probably know what’s going on with the pitching staff. Neftali Feliz went down with some sort of elbow problem, Derek Holland followed with stomach flu and shoulder fatigue, and yesterday Alexi Ogando pulled his groin trying to beat out a bunt.
Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish, and Matt Harrison are still healthy. If Scott Feldman can replicate his Saturday start, he’s solid as a #4. Roy Oswalt is on his way, but will probably need at least two more starts in the minors before he’s ready for the show.
If Ogando is down for any length of time, who pitches 5th in the rotation?
My choice all along has been Robbie “The Bulldog” Ross.
On June 4th, Ross pitched in semi-long relief for Feldman. He threw 34 pitches in 2.1 innings and allowed no earned runs. He pitched .2 innings four days later and yesterday he needed only 45 pitches to get through 4 innings.
Ogando was on a pitch count of about 60 in San Francisco. Considering his recent workload, is it that much of a stretch to think that Ross couldn’t do the same?
Because he’s worked exclusively in relief, it’s hard to say exactly how Ross’ numbers would translate in a starting role. What we can say for sure is that the kid, despite only being 22, is aggressive. His ratio of strikes to balls usually hovers around 2-to-1 and I found only one appearance this season where he threw more out of the zone than in.
(On May 11th he threw 11 pitches and only 5 were strikes.)
Right now the other best option is probably Michael Kirkman, who is currently at AAA Round Rock. In 15 appearances (8 starts) Kirkman has a 5.25 ERA with 5.8 walks per 9 innings. Compare that to Ross’ 1.30 ERA and 1.6 BB/9 at the Major League level.
It is entirely possible that Ogando’s MRI will come back clean and that he will be able to pitch on Saturday. If not, I think Ross is the best candidate to step in until reinforcements arrive.
I think it’s time to #freeRobbieRoss.
Press on, Rangers fans.