The Texas Rangers gave up the last game of the season series against the Houston Astros but mainly did so by choice. They decided to bumped Yu Darvish one start and send Derek Holland to the Mound in order to set up their playoff rotation.
That is right, the Texas Rangers are already gearing up for the playoffs and it appears that the first 3 starters of a playoff series will be Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, and Colby Lewis. A fourth starter may or may not be needed but depending on the situation that the Rangers will find themselves in.
Positioning these three guys right now will ensure them the right amount of rest that will be needed when the playoffs hit. Not only that but with the playoff series being game 1, 2, day off, 3,4, day off, game 5 then it would allow for Hamels to pitch twice or even him and Darvish to pitch twice if needed.
The fourth starter could be Martin Perez (fans would hope for that to be a home game) or A.J. Griffin depending on the team that the Rangers would face. Having choices at the starting position means that a couple of starters may be put in the bullpen for added depth and could be an asset moving forward.
Derek Holland was in the bullpen the two games prior to his last start but was not used. Holland ensured that he would not be a playoff starter over the past few games he has started. Since returning from the DL, in five starts Holland is 2-3 with a 423 ERA and has allowed 11 runs in his last 3 starts of that record.
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This was supposed to be a big year for Holland because of his contract situation in which the Texas Rangers have an $11.5 million option for next season. There is no denying that Holland was a big part of the rotation for the Rangers during the 2010-2012 season but since then he has been injury ridden and frustrating to watch.
The offseason for him will be something to watch and most likely he may look for a pillow contract in hopes of showing that he still can be an effective major league pitcher.
Any fan can see that the bullpen has been the biggest question as of late and heading into the playoffs it looks to still be a point of worry. Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman, and Keone Kela have been iffy recently and the Rangers will need them to get their acts together, quick.
The positive out of the bullpen has been Tanner Scheppers, he recorded his first save on Tuesday since 2013. Not only did he get that save but he is making a case to be a big part of setting up a closer since he has pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings since rejoining the team this year.
What do you think is the biggest question going into the playoffs and who do you think will make the most impact going forward?