The Texas Rangers targeted this past weekend as a pivotal one for their pitching decisions a while back, and sure enough, the club made some big calls over the weekend involving their pitching staff.
The moves were all a result of each other, as they decided Tanner Scheppers, last year's setup man, will open the season in the starting rotation. As a result, fellow tweener Alexi Ogando will move back to the bullpen, where he's probably best-suited. Also, the Rangers named former all-star closer Joakim Soria their closer instead of fellow former all-star and former AL Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz, who is now pitching for a spot on the big-league roster.
Scheppers will open the season as the No. 3 starter behind Yu Darvish and Martin Perez after impressing the club with his ability to make in-game adjustments and get into the sixth inning of a game last week while throwing five scoreless innings after allowing some runs in the first.
It's concievable that Scheppers could end up back in the bullpen before the season ends once guys like Matt Harrison and Derek Holland are healthy and ready to contribute. Then, there's Colby Lewis who had an encouraging outing in a minor-league game over the weekend. Unless Scheppers blows the doors off opponents as a starter, it's likely he'd eventually move back, possibly when Holland is ready to re-enter the rotation sometime this summer.
There are a lot of questions still to be answered in the pitching staff, like who will be the club's No. 4 and No. 5 starters, and who will be the setup man/men. But the thought has to be that if the Rangers can tread water for a couple of months, their pitching staff could look really, really good come June.