Rangers @ Oakland Game 21 – Pre-game thoughts
By David Cash
Apr 5, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nick Martinez (22) walks off the field in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oakland, Cali – The Texas Rangers called up right-handed Nick Martinez from Double-A Frisco today to make his second start. He is taking the spot that Tanner Scheppers had in the rotation, but after Scheppers last outing, it was very doubtful even if he was not on the 15-day disabled list he would start.
A Ray of Sunshine: Nick Martinez wasn’t on the Opening day roster, but he was announced in the starting rotation. He got his first start against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 5th. He allowed 3 earned runs, 2 via the home run, walked 3 and struck out 3 over 6 innings/85 pitches. Overall his first major league start was a success. He managed to pitch well enough to keep the Rangers in the game. Before that game, many fans probably didn’t even know who he was. He wasn’t even in the Rangers camp all spring training, but now he’s made his name known. With the long list of Rangers on the disabled list, Martinez is definitively a ray of sunshine on the organization. He’s been able to step up and filled a hole during the first week in the season, and he’s back again to cover for the injured Scheppers.
Rookie Expectations: It’s hard to tell what will happen tonight. The A’s are very good hitters and are very patient batters. Yu Darvish did his best last night and still struggled at times. Martinez though seems to be calm and collected on the big stage. If he’s able to repeat his performance he did in Tampa Bay, he should be able to keep the Rangers in the game again.
A little about Nick: He was ranked as the number 12 prospect by Baseball America this season. He has had 2 starts in Double-A Frisco this season with an ERA of 1.86. Martinez is the 5th Texas Rangers pitcher to make his major league debut within the first 5 games of a season.
Starting pitching: The Rangers starters have been pretty solid so far this season. The starters currently have an ERA of 2.95 over the last 15 starts. It does help the Martin Perez pitched a complete game shutout last Friday. I don’t expect Nick Martinez to pitch a shutout, but I do think he’ll limit the damage.
No running of the bulls: At beginning of the season, the Rangers bullpen looked pretty bad. Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers had been plucked from it to band-aid the starting rotation. But, the bullpen has been very solid lately. The bullpen hasn’t allowed an earned run in the last 7 of 10 games (when the bullpen is needed). Relievers have an ERA of 3.38 over the last 10 games. Sunday’s game against the White Sox didn’t help out the starters or bullpen’s ERA, but besides that they have been solid. If Martinez does get into trouble, he should be backed up by a the pen tonight to keep him in the game. It will be tough to hold the A’s to no runs, but they did manage to do it last night.