Mar 2, 2014; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcherRobbie Ross
Jr. (46) throws the ball against the Chicago White Sox at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY
Arlington, Texas – The Texas Rangers complete their three game set tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies. After a wild game on Monday where the two teams combined for 24 runs, it was more tamed on Tuesday night with a final of 3-2. With the series knotted up, the Rangers look to Robbie Ross to win the series.
Spring Training: Ross is another pitcher that Ron Washington had to pick out of the bullpen to round out the starting rotation. Ross was one of the final names to make the list, but he did earn it with a solid spring training. He had an ERA of 2.86 with 13 strike outs over 6 games/22 innings.
Last season: If you were to ask anyone near the end of last season if Robbie Ross would be in the starting rotation for the 2014, they would have easily said no. Ross had a very rough second half of the season. Things were so bad, Ron Washington lost confidence in the lefty and wouldn’t put him in any key situations.
First half stats for 2013
- 41 games/41.2 innings
- 2.59 ERA
- 41 strike outs
- 14 walks
- 39 hits/12 runs
Second half stats for 2014
- 24 games/20.2 innings
- 3.92 ERA
- 17 strike outs
- 5 walks
- 24 hits/9 runs
For Ross, the ERA and the walks are not the worse thing for him last year, it was his opposing batting average for lefties. He had an opposing batting average for left-handed batters at .341 vs a .211 against right-hand batters.
What’s different: Robbie Ross recognizes that he was hit hard and often by left-handed batters last year. During the offseason the Texas Rangers had him play in the Dominican Winter League. Things started off pretty rough for Ross, but after a few games he was dialed in and pitching well. So what’s different? Ross focused on his command and his secondary pitches. He focused a lot on his changeup and his confidence in using during a game. Also, he worked on his slider.
His goal during his time in the the DWL, was to work on being able to mix in his slider and changeup with his fastball, so he could be effective as a starter. Ross was able to carry what he did in offseason ball over to spring training and it seemed to work.
Robbie Ross talked about his efforts and what’s he changed from last year after the Cincinnati Reds spring training game.
Win the series: Ron Washington is using the same lineup tonight as Monday’s Opening day lineup. That lineup proved to do very well scoring 10 runs off of 14 hits. Alex Rios was very hot that day going 3 for 4 and drove in 3 runs. The wind isn’t as wild as it was on Monday, but this line up Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre is always ready to exploded with runs.
The Rangers have won their last 3 opening series (2011, 2012 and 2013) also they won their series in 2009. Prior to the win in 2009, they lost the previous 9.
Last night Shin-Soo Choo proved he is able to get on base by reaching all 4 times. Adrian Beltre did what he does best, hit the ball and hit it hard. It didn’t leave the park, but it did score Choo and helped the Rangers win in walk-off fashion.
I think we’ll see more of that tonight. Choo will continue to get on base, and if Elvis Andrus is able to advance him, either Prince Fielder or Adrian Beltre will bring him home.
Also, Mitch Moreland was hitting the ball well in game one, but both fly balls were caught. If he can keep that up, the hits will come. It’s easy to say we could have a repeat of Monday’s game and I hope we do, but this time the Rangers won’t give up 14 runs. That can’t happen again.
With Ross on the mound and a solid lineup tonight, the Rangers should make it 4 years in a row to win their season opening series. Go Rangers, Win The Series!