ARIZONA (CBSDFW.COM) – If Robbie Ross needed a statement game to justify a spot in the Texas Rangers starting rotation, he got it. Texas needed something good after several key injuries and demotions to the pitching staff.
Let’s review. Derek Holland is still out with a knee injury. Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison have spent most of their spring rehabbing after injuries. Former Opening Day starting pitcher Yu Darvish is back in North Texas to see a specialist about his ailing neck. Yes, that’s four of the team’s potential starting pitchers.
And on Tuesday, the Rangers announced that former closer Neftali Feliz had been optioned to AAA Round Rock. You might be wondering who is going to pitch this year for Texas?
Enter Robbie Ross. The left hander was 0-0 with a 1.88 ERA entering Tuesday’s game against the Cleveland Indians. He went out and tossed 7 innings of shutout ball with 4 hits, 3 walks and 8 K’s against the Indians regular starters.
When asked if he made a pretty good case to be in the starting rotation Ross replied, “I did the best I could. I went out there and tried to pitch to the best of my ability”.
Ross had some moments during the Indians game that would make Rangers fans cringe. He allowed a hit to the first batter in the first and second innings. In the fourth inning, he gave up back-to-back walks.
However, Ross was able to make a key pitch that got him out of the jams. “Obviously, a bunch of guys made a bunch of plays behind me,” Ross told the media. “They bailed me out of a lot of situations with double play balls and making plays for me,” said Ross.
At one point, he struck out 4 consecutive Indians.
The pitching performance got the attention of manager Ron Washington. “Awesome! He finished it off good. It’s the best I’ve seen him throw and the longest I’ve seen him on the mound. He maintained his velocity. He maintained his focus. Hitting his spots and changing his speeds,” explained Washington after the game.
If there was a downside to Ross’ big performance, it was that the Rangers didn’t get a chance to see Alexi Ogando pitch in the game. Ogando, who has starting pitching experience, may get a chance to pitch in tomorrow’s final Spring Training game in Arizona when Texas takes on Seattle.
Colby Lewis is scheduled to take the mound for the Wednesday afternoon game. Tanner Scheppers will get the nod when Texas returns to Arlington for an exhibition game against Quintana Roo on Thursday.
Texas will be looking, and hoping, for a few more stellar performances like the one they got from Robbie Ross.
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