Alexi Ogando #41 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Houston Astros in the first inning at Minute Maid Park on April 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
It had been said many times on these very Red Fever pages: Alexi Ogando should be in the Texas Rangers' bullpen, not in the starting rotation.
In general, we still hold that opinion, but after Tuesday night's gutsy, clutch, every-other-good-descriptor-you-can-think-of outing in the Rangers' slump-busting win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Ogando secured his spot in the rotation for at least another week after he allowed just two hits over five innings to get his first win as a starter since August, before he hit the disabled list for the third time this season.
Rangers manager named Ogando the starter after Monday's loss, yet another game that saw the Rangers' starter give up an early lead, and he did so with good reasoning after seeing Ogando pitch well out of the bullpen since returning from DL stint No. 3.
The idea was that Ogando could hopefully give him three strong innings before turning it over to the bullpen and not allow the Rays to jump out to an early lead. Ogando exceeded all expectations as he turned in five pristine innings, allowing just two hits (one solo home run), as the Rangers' offense came to life to lifted the Rangers to a stress-free victory.
"I pitched well, and the team won," Ogando told ESPNDallas.com. "It's been a while since I had a really good feeling about my pitches. I worked hard today, and a lot of people had a lot of confidence, as I did myself."
Ogando was right in his assessment. His stuff was probably the best it's been all season, as his average fastball velocity was consistently in the mid 90s and his slider was in the mid 80s. He was electric, and even when his command wavered from time to time, his stuff was too filthy for it to matter.