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The Case For Robbie Ross

By Tom Duerr, CBS 11 News
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) -  Yu Darvish is the American League Rookie of the Month for April.

It’s pretty hard to disagree with that, especially when you look at the numbers. Despite Darvish’s rocky start in his first game, the MLB rookie has put up numbers for which most veterans could only hope. In five starts, Darvish is 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA. He’s averaging a strikeout per inning pitched, and opponents are hitting just .238 off of him.

You can’t say that Yu isn’t deserving of Rookie of the Month honors.

Darvish is in a five-way tie atop the American League in wins. His is joined by names like pitching veterans Derek Lowe, David Price, James Shields and Robbie Ross.

Robbie Ross?

143452216 The Case For Robbie Ross

ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 25: Robbie Ross #46 of the Texas Rangers throws against the New York Yankees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 25, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

That’s right, Rangers reliever and fellow rookie Robbie Ross is among the league leaders in wins and is sporting a 1.74 ERA, which is lower than Darvish’s. Ross is also besting his fellow rookie when it comes to opponent batting average and WHIP (Walks + Hits per Innings Pitched).

Yes, Ross is a relief pitcher. Yes, Ross has pitched far few innings than Darvish. But I find it hard to agree with someone who says his contribution is not as valuable. Ross helped the Rangers pick up two wins in Minnesota, one in Detroit and one against the New York Yankees — three teams Rangers pitchers have struggled against in the past.

If you remember back to Spring Training, Ross was far from a sure thing to make the Rangers opening day roster. The 22 year-old spent the past three seasons with mediocre numbers, moving up through the Rangers farm system. He split last season — his best season in professional baseball — between the Class-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the Class-AA Frisco Roughriders. Ross was, in all likelihood, destined for Round Rock, at least to start the season. That was, until he turned a lot of heads in Surprise this spring.

Robbie Ross is a huge reason why the Rangers got off to a 17-8 start this season — possibly moreso than Darvish. He’s provided great stability in the bullpen for a team who had a lot of late inning struggles last year.

Yu Darvish is the American League Rookie of the Month for April. He’s earned that. But just like at the ballpark, he has Robbie Ross warming up behind him, ready to take the ball.

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