Quick thoughts about the Texas Rangers yesterday
By David Cash
Feb 17, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers outfielderLewis Brinson
(left) and shortstopHanser Alberto
during team practice at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Texas Rangers played game 2 of Cactus League ball against the Kansas City Royals. Yesterday’s game didn’t go as well as Thursday game, but that’s ok. The Rangers lost 11-1, in what seemed like batting practice for the Royals.
Spring training games are the time for games like that. But one thing that wasn’t good from yesterday’s game was the performance of Alexi Ogando. Ogando threw 34 pitches and only 19 were for strikes. He fell behind in the count what seemed like every batter. When he did get one in the zone, batters managed to get a hit. He only pitched 2 innings, which was expected, but gave up 4 hits and 4 runs, 2 of which were earned.
Ogando was pitching in about the high 80s-low 90s for his fastball and mixed it up with his curveball. Maybe he wasn’t putting all the mustard on it, but if he wants to be a starter, he’ll have to be better than that. In my opinion, I’ve always seen Ogando as a reliever, but Ron Washington will give him the chance to make the rotation. And it’s hard not to with Holland out, Matt Harrison delay and the status of Colby Lewis unknown.
If Ogando does continue to go out there and pitch like that, it will be hard for Washington to put him in the rotation. That means Tommy Hanson could have a very good chance on making the rotation if he is able to setup.
Also yesterday, we saw a platoon of other Rangers pitchers, in which it seemed no one was pitching well. Kansas City seemed to get hit after hit. But they were able to see what Cory Burns and other were able to do. Burns was also lit up over 2/3 innings and allowed 3 hits and 3 runs. He was another pitcher that the Rangers were looking at to see what he could do if called up during the season.
Another quick thought from yesterday is about Brett Nicholas. Nicholas is making a transition to catcher this year after playing mostly at first base. Yesterday he seemed to play very well at catcher. Nicholas will be playing in Frisco this year, which is near the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and he could see some action this year if needed. Also, one thing that was very good from Nicholas was his bat. Even though he didn’t get a hit, he did make very good contact and drove the ball deep twice. One hit should have easily been a double, but Alex Gordon make a great play to rob him of a hit.
Shin-Soo Choo took the lead off spot yesterday. Last year he had one of the best on-base percentages. But, yesterday, percentages didn’t work out in his favor. Choo, will get his hits at some point. He looked very calm and showed patience at the plate. If he continues to do that for the season, we’ll see the top of the rotation doing a lot of scoring this season.
Some other thoughts, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis continue to do well. Harrison won’t be ready by opening day, but that could mean he’ll just miss a few starts. I think both could be the difference makers this season. It is starting to seem more and more likely that the Rangers may have both at some point this season. The Rangers could never have too make starting pitchers. Having Lewis available to, that will help keep the rotation healthy.
Rangers play game 3 of Cactus League play today, lefty Martin Perez will go against righty Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletic. Tomorrow Robbie Ross will get his first start. Ross, like Ogando, wants to be a starter. Last year he had several struggles in the second half, and he was so inconsistent that he wasn’t put in to game situations that mattered. Ross did get some playing time in the Dominican Winter League and after a rough first start, managed to calm down and pitch well. Ross has only been a reliever so far in the majors, but has had several starts in the minors. But, like Ogando, I think Ross might be best left as a reliever. One thing I hate to see is relievers being moved back and forth to the bullpen. When Ross was on his game, he was a very effective lefty reliever. And in my opinion, that where he’s best at. We’ll see what he does on Sunday, maybe he’ll pitch well and make me wrong.
Spring training games are underway, lets enjoy them for what they are, practice games.