Colby Lewis #48 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Houston Astros in the 1st inning on May 20, 2012 during interleague play at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
When the regular season started back in April, the Texas Rangers' starting rotation looked like this: Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz. After the incredible luck the Rangers saw in 2011 in avoiding injuries, fans hoped that would be the way things looked for much of the season. So far, it's been anything but that, and on Tuesday the rock of the Rangers' staff, Lewis, was the latest Rangers pitcher to hit the disabled list with forearm tendinitis.
That means 60 percent of the opening week rotation is now on the shelf as Lewis joined Holland and Feliz on the DL, and that doesn't even include Alexi Ogando, who stepped into the rotation after Holland hit the DL only to strain his groin in his first start of the season.
Luckily, the Rangers were able to sign Roy Oswalt, who made his 2012 debut on Friday and is set to start his second game of the year tonight in the rubber match against the Detroit Tigers. That move went from being a good insurance policy to an absolute necessity. They've also gotten spot starts from Scott Feldman, which failed, and Double-A call-up Justin Grimm, who shined in his big-league debut against the horrible Houston Astros and then got rocked by the Tigers on Monday. The Rangers called up their top pitching prospect Martin Perez on Tuesday, who could make a start on Saturday.
Holland is set to make his first rehab start tonight in Round Rock on his way to returning from the DL right around the all-star break. Feliz's return isn't quite as clear, but the way things are shaping up with the Oswalt addition, Feliz will be back in the bullpen when he does return. Lewis is set to be back in mid-July.
There's been discussion that the Rangers could be in the trade market for another starting pitcher, most notably Milwaukee Brewers ace Zack Greinke, who the Rangers tried to sign after they lost Cliff Lee in 2010. Greinke is 8-2 with a 2.81 ERA this season and is set to be a free agent following the season, meaning it would be another Lee-like situation. The Rangers have the farm to make moves like that, but they'd rather not. Just look at last year when they opted to get the lower fanfare guy in Mike Adams instead of his San Diego teammate Heath Bell, who would've been a rent-a-player.
Greinke would be a great option, there's no doubt about it. But what happens when Holland and Lewis are healthy? Then you've got a six-man rotation that doesn't include Feliz. The logical solution here is try to somehow wait out Holland and Lewis' return and pray there's no more injuries to the staff. If there is, you'd have Feliz in your back pocket.
Essentially, just be thankful it's June 27 and not July 27, then you'd really be scrambling. Not to mention the fact that the Rangers still have the biggest division lead in all of baseball and the best record in the game.