Last season, the big story and big surprise in the Texas Rangers' bullpen was Robbie Ross, a young, under-the-radar lefty who surprisingly made the club out of spring training and went on to a great season.
This year, it's another unheralded lefty who's shocking the Rangers with his stellar performance in the form of Joe Ortiz.
The young lefty came into a really tight spot in Tuesday's game against the rival Angels when he inherited the bases loaded with one out and Albert Pujols at the dish with Josh Hamilton on deck in the bottom of the 10th inning. Ortiz forced a groundout to third from Pujols as Adrian Beltre got the force at home and then a soft grounder from Hamilton to Ian Kinsler to get the Rangers out of a major jam.
Ortiz came back out for the bottom of the 11th inning and immediately struck out Mark Trumbo looking on a filthy backdoor cutter before Ranger-killer Howie Kendrick took Ortiz deep to end the game. So yeah, Ortiz ultimately gave up the game-winner, but there aren't many words to describe the pressure cooker Ortiz entered in that 10th inning when a sac fly would've won the game for the Angels. Even though Ortiz gave up the game-winning homer, he showed a whole lot in that game, and Ron Washington took notice.
"Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose," Washington told ESPN Dallas. "We certainly felt good with Ortiz out there."