ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 28: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers throws in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 28, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Nick Martinez was the guy no one had ever heard of when he was named to the starting rotation coming out of spring training after an injuries to Derek Holland and Yu Darvish and rehabbing starters in Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison who weren't ready for the Opening Day rotation.
Martinez had thrown just five games in his pro career above the Class-A level and found himself as the Rangers' fifth starter one time through the rotation before becoming the long relief man and becoming a starter again thanks to season-ending injuries to Harrison and Martin Perez.
On Sunday, he made his third big-league start against the top offensive team in baseball — his first as a long-term option as a starter — and was pretty dang good.
Martinez lasted five innings and allowed just one run on four hits to leave him in line for his first big-league victory before the bullpen choked it away the following inning in a game the Rangers eventually won anyway.
His big-league ERA is now a sparkling 2.28 this season.
"Everything was working for me," Martinez told reporters after Sunday's game. "I felt strong. I'd like to pitch the whole game if it was up to me, but I was on a pitch count and it took me through five innings today."
Martinez had just pitched in relief just four days earlier, so his pitch count was something that had to be pretty steadfast. But if he can do that to an offense as good as Toronto's, he could be a pretty nice long-term solution in the Rangers' starting rotation.