ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 5: Neal Cotts #56 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the eighth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 5, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
When Neal Cotts came into the game on Wednesday afternoon to face David Ortiz with runners on the corners and one out, it was supposed to be a sure thing. Prior to that at-bat, Ortiz was 0-for-5 in his career against the Rangers' lefty reliever with all five at-bats ending in strikeouts.
The Rangers were clinging to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning and needed a big two outs from Cotts. They didn't get it. Ortiz crushed an 89 mph fastball from Cotts just inside the right field foul pole to give the Red Sox a 4-2 win after Boston closer Koji Uehara shut down his former team in the top of the ninth.
The blown save was Cotts' second in his five appearances this season. It was the second time he'd lost a Rangers lead in the eighth inning, as he did the same thing last Saturday in Tampa in a 5-4 loss to the Rays.
After posting a 1.11 ERA last season, Cotts has already allowed three earned runs this season and has a 6.75 ERA. To put that in perspective, it took Cotts 22 appearances last season to give up three earned runs.
It's time to sound the alarm on Cotts yet, but it's certainly a bit concerning, especially with the current state of the bullpen that has Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross Jr. in the starting rotation.