First, as with any time the Rangers beat the Houston Astros, we must start with the disclaimer: It's the Astros. But hey, you have to beat the mutts, and the Rangers have certainly done a good job of that this year.
Travis Blackley was a mutt for much of this season, a relief pitcher for the Astros who had been optioned to the minors before being dealt to the Rangers last week for cash considerations.
On Tuesday, he made his first start of 2013 against his former team after Alexi Ogando was sent to the disabled list for the third time this season, and Blackley performed admirably even against a team that is running a Triple-A lineup out every day.
Blackley threw 66 pitches (he was scheduled for 65) before turning the game over to the bullpen and eventually setting up Neal Cotts for a win, but Blackley definitely did his part with just one mistake pitch on the night, a two-run home run by Matt Dominguez in the second inning.
Blackley has had success as a starter before and is still building up his arm to start after coming out of the bullpen all year. Last year he put together some good starts for Oakland, including a trio of them against the Rangers in the heat of the division race that the A's won on the season's final day.
It's still up in the air whether Blackley will make his next start Monday against another one of his former teams, the Seattle Mariners, but he made a decent case for it on Tuesday night and if the Rangers don't go acquire another starting pitcher, which at this point seems unlikely, then they won't have much of a choice.
It could get a lot worse than Blackley, and with the Rangers' bullpen he only needs to get through four or five innings right now, anyway.