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)
Miles Mikolas will start Monday night's series opener against the Houston Astros in what will be his second career big-league start after he started on Wednesday in Baltimore with mixed results.
One of his former Triple-A Round Rock teammates will follow suit on Tuesday night against the Astros as righty Phil Irwin, making his Rangers starting debut after Nick Martinez was scratched after tweaking a back muscle while taking batting practice to prepare for a start in New York that never came because of rotation shuffle caused by the weather.
The Rangers hope Martinez will miss just one start, but in the meantime, they'll roll with Irwin, who made one start in his only big-league appearance last year with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In that game, he allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Martinez, 23, has been in over his head at times this year. He's 1-6 with a 5.10 ERA and is another guy in a long line that shouldn't be on the big club this year and should still be honing his craft in the minors.
Irwin was acquired by the Rangers earlier this season from Pittsburgh, and the 27-year-old has had some success in Round Rock. In his seven appearances (six starts) with the Express, Irwin has a 4-1 record with a 2.41 ERA and has 39 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings.
At this point, hey, why not? The Rangers are looking to see if any of their young arms (they have no significant pitching prospects outside of Luke Jackson and Chi-Chi Gonzalez) can make a splash and maybe work their way into the club's plans for 2015.
Again, they'll hope Martinez will be back soon, but they're going to be happy to get a look at another arm in the meantime.