Arlington, Tex- The Texas Rangers continued their flurry of frantic moves today that included moving left-handed pitcher Robbie Ross Jr back to the bullpen. When it was announced that Robbie Ross was joining the bullpen, it first seemed like a good idea.
Spring training: During spring training Ross pitched well with a record of 1-0 with an ERA of 2.86 over 22.0 innings. He managed to hold batters to an average of .259, struck out 13 and only walked 6.
Looking back to 2013: This was a huge improvement over his second half numbers in 2013. During the second half Ross was awful. He was so unreliable that Ron Washington stopped using him in key game situations. He had an ERA of 3.92 with 17 strikeouts and 9 walks over 24 games/20.2 innings. His work load was cut almost in half during that period.
Winter ball: During the offseason he played some winter ball with in the Dominican Winter League. In his first game playing with Toros, Ross only recorded one out, allowed 4 hits, 2 walks and 4 earned runs. The 4 singles Ross allowed dug Toros in a 4 run hole and Ross took the loss. After only recording one out, Ross started the Dominican Winter League with an ERA of 108.00. That’s about as sky high as an ERA can get.
After that horrible outing he did manage to straighten things out and drop his ERA to 5.40. But, maybe that was a precursor to what the Rangers saw when he started for them. Granted, he wasn’t that bad, but he hasn’t been the same pitcher when he first started back in 2012.
Trying to start: For the 2014 season over 9 starts/49.0 innings (5.44 average per game) Ross has a record of 1-4, 4.78 ERA with 34 strikeouts, 16 walks and a league leading 6 hit by pitch. What should be amazing is his ERA. Over the last several games he has had high pitch counts after 2 innings and pitched into several jams and somehow pitched out of them.
It was doubtful over his last 2 starts he would make it out of the 4th inning. Several times the Rangers had people warming up in the bullpen during the 4th, but Ross managed to get the final outs before the game was just a total loss.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Ross is out of the starting rotation, what should be a surprise is that it took this long. After hit was banged up for 6 earned runs against the Colorado Rockies and then 5 by the Boston Red Sox many figured he was done then.
Recapturing early 2013: Ross was great in the first half of the season in the pen last year. During the first half of the season last year he had a record of 4-2, 2.59 ERA with 41 strikeouts, 14 walks and 5 hit by pitch over 41 games/41.2 innings. Hopefully he’ll be able to bounce back in the pen.