May 28, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitching Joe Saunders (47) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Minneapolis – Texas Rangers left-handed pitcher Joe Saunders returned to the mound for the second time this season yesterday. I was a bit of a surprise to see the Rangers have him another shot in the starting rotation. During spring training and his first regular season start he looked awful.
Before last night’s game Saunders had only pitched in one game. After that game he had an ERA that equaled Tanner Scheppers sky-high ERA of 9.82. A line drive sent Joe Saunders out of his first game and to the disabled list. Many fans took to Twitter quickly and made some pretty rude comments about the injury.
Over the last few weeks Saunders has been trying to prove in the minors he’s ready to comeback and after his last start he did look ready. Even though he did look ready, giving him another chance to start still looked like a bad idea, but with Matt Harrison and Martin Perez gone for the year the Rangers were out of options.
Luckily for Saunders there was no way he would look worse than 50 Cent. In case you missed it, check out his ceremonial first pitch.
Watch 50 Cent’s ceremonial first pitch
There was a lot of speculation how Saunders would do yesterday. After watching him some in the minors I thought he would pitch a decent game. I didn’t think he’d do as well as he did do yesterday against a good Minnesota Twins team. Saunders was able to pitch 5.0 scoreless innings, record 6 strikeouts and only walk 2. What is even more amazing is that he able to get out of several jams, including 3 full counts that resulted in outs and held the Twins to 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
It did take Saunders 97 pitches to finish 5 innings, but at least 63 of those were for strikes. This was a huge improvement over his spring training and first regular season outing.
Watch Saunders fans six in return
Now after 2 starts, Saunders ERA looks more realist at 4.15. With a bit of confidence restored I would expect Saunders to stay in the rotation for a while. Right now the Rangers don’t have many options, hopefully Saunders will continue to pitch more like yesterday than what he did early in the season. If the Texas Rangers are going to be serious about making a playoff run, then players such as Saunders will need to dig deep and preform at the top of their game every outing.