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)
We've been saying it for most of the year, and even back in the second part of the 2011 season — Alexi Ogando needs to come out of the Texas Rangers' bullpen, not before the game, but during it.
Ogando came off the DL for the third time this season when rosters expanded and has turned in some nice relief outings since, and none were bigger than Sunday's when the Rangers were trying to avoid a three-game sweep in Anaheim on a day when the A's took care of business and guaranteed themselves at least the current 1.5-game lead in the AL West.
Ogando relieved Joseph Ortiz, who relieved spot-starter Nick Tepesch, and earned the win out of the bullpen after allowing just one hit in 1 1/3 innings of relief on just more than 20 pitches. Ogando improved to 6-4 on the season and since his return from the DL has put up 2 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit against the Angels and A's.
It's clear Ogando's time as a starter is finished for this year, and it probably should be the remainder of his time with the Rangers. He's proven he can be a dynamite reliever and provide lockdown stuff in the late parts of games, and he's starting to show it again.