OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 22: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the first inning at O.co Coliseum on April 22, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Nick Martinez was nowhere near the radar of projected starting pitchers during spring training. The former college shortstop who had pitched just five games above the Single-A level prior to this season should not have been on the mound for the Rangers at any point this season.
But on Tuesday night in Oakland, he toed the rubber as the Rangers' starter for the second time this season. He struggled, but he pitched well enough to keep the team in the game and watched as his teammates pulled a ninth-inning win out of their rears on Tuesday to set up a potential series sweep on Wednesday afternoon.
"It was a lot of fun," Martinez told reporters after the game. "It was a great game the way the guys came through with big hits."
Martinez was far from great, and was really not even good. But he navigated his way through trouble, which is far more than what you should expect from a guy of his track record.
Martinez had one clean inning in his five innings of work, gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks. He struck out just one batter and had runners on base in every inning but the perfect third.