There's no doubt that the Texas Rangers' starting rotation was one of the key deficiencies that led to their downfall in 2012. Aside from Matt Harrison, really, everyone on the staff had their share of ups and downs, and Derek Holland was nowhere near what the Rangers expected when they gave him a huge contract in the offseason.
But there were also injuries. Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis both had season-ending injuries, Derek Holland had a stomach virus that shelved him for a month and Alexi Ogando also saw time on the disabled list. Then there's the Roy Oswalt signing, which failed miserably.
Looking back at 2011, the Rangers saw something very rare — all but five of the starts all season were made by pitchers who were in their starting rotation to start the season. C.J. Wilson, Lewis, Holland, Harrison and Ogando started all but five games that year with three spot starts coming from Dave Bush and two from Scott Feldman. More importantly, no starting pitcher hit the disabled list as those spot starts were due to minor things like blisters and just trying to get an extra breather for their starters.
The story was far different this past season, as 51 starts were made by guys who weren't in the starting rotation when the season began, which is a sure recipe for problems, if not disaster. The Rangers weathered the storm pretty well, but it might have eventually caught up with them.
Eleven pitchers made starts for the Rangers, including guys like Justin Grimm and Ogando, who was injured in his only start of the season.
It's definitely not an excuse. Injuries and ineffective stretches happen, and the Rangers were sickingly fortunate and healthy in 2011, but they were brought back down to Earth a bit in 2012.