ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 13: Alexi Ogando #41 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Houston Astros in the top of the ninth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 13, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Alexi Ogando came through in a huge spot for the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon, picking up his first save since 2012 (when he had three) in a 1-0 win over the Astros to give the Rangers a series victory and the coveted Silver Boot for now. (sarcasm intended)
Ogando worked a clean ninth inning, as closer Joakim Soria has not only struggled recently but had also pitched on consecutive days, and needed just 12 pitches to pick up the save on Sunday. It was Ogando's third good outing in-a-row, dating back to last week's late loss to Boston when Ogando was simply left in the game too long and eventually fell apart after a stellar 1 1/3 innings.
Texas manager Ron Washington had promised Ogando some save opportunities when he was somewhat unexpectedly moved back to the bullpen late in spring training. On Sunday, he finally got that chance after a rough few outings to start the season.
"I like to compete," Ogando told reporters through an interpreter. "If they put me in that situation, I like it."
Ogando's reclamation would be huge for the Rangers' struggling bullpen and give them another trusted arm in late-game situations. Add in Tanner Scheppers in a couple of weeks if Matt Harrison returns to the rotation as expected, then you're looking at a whole new bullpen.