Alexi Ogando, in the Rangers dugout after being relieved.
What’s happened to the Rangers? And where has Alexi Ogando gone?
Just three years ago when the Rangers were a legit World Series contender and Alexi Ogando was one of the most versatile and dependable young arms in baseball.
But these days? After last night’s 8-3 loss to the Orioles, Texas is a fourth-place team in the AL West meandering around .500 and Ogando is … what exactly? After Robinson Chirinos’ homer tied the score at 2-2 in the 7th, manager Ron Washington handed the ball to Ogando in the 8th. With one out, he got unlucky on a cheap infield single by Delmon Young. That happens. But what came next shouldn’t.
Ogando preceded to hit Jonathan Schoop with a pitch, then had light-hitting No. 9 hitter Caleb Joseph in an 0-2 hole but left a fastball over the plate for a tie-breaking double. Old friend Nelson Cruz later hit a three-run homer and just like that a tense 2-2 game deteriorated into an 8-2 shellacking.
“The more he pitches, the better he gets,” Washington said in his post-game press conference Tuesday night in an effort to support Ogando. “He’s been pitching well, but this was one of those nights where he didn’t get the job done.”
From a lively fastball and nasty slider that could protect a lead or even close a game from the bullpen, Ogando has lost velocity, confidence and success. He’s no longer feared. And the Rangers don’t know exactly what to do with him anymore.
In 2011 Ogando was an All-Star who won 13 games as a starter. In 2014 he’s merely a relief pitcher with a 6.84 ERA on a mediocre team.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.