Entering the four-game set over the weekend in Minnesota there might not have been a better story so far on the Texas Rangers' young season than that of relief pitcher Joe Ortiz.
Similar to Robbie Ross in 2012, Ortiz made the big-league club out of spring training a bit under the radar and ended up turning in some gutty performances from the Rangers' bullpen as one of the most valuable pieces of a revamped Rangers bullpen.
Sporting a 1.42 ERA entering the weekend set in Minneapolis, Ortiz had that number even inflated when he gave up a walk-off homer earlier in the week in Anaheim, but that was after he pitched tremendously to get out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the ninth inning. He's been all guts and clutch.
But this weekend, things kind of fell apart for Ortiz, who now has a 27.00 ERA over the last seven days and saw his ERA climb to 4.05 after two appearances that spanned 2/3 of an inning this weekend in the series split with the Twins.
It's not at all time to sound any alarm on Ortiz, but there has been a growing concern among Rangers fandom that Ortiz is being overworked early on as he's on a current pace to throw more than 84 innings of relief this season, which is an unreasonable number. So yeah, he probably is a bit tired, coupled with the lengthy road trip and odd travel times the Rangers have faced over the past couple of weeks.
Don't give up on Ortiz yet, but you can be concerned about his workload.