When the Texas Rangers decided to let C.J. Wilson walk in free agency and enter the 2012 season with just one starting pitcher (Colby Lewis) with anything significantly more than a year of starting experience in the big leagues on their roster, they took a risk.
Through the first few series of the year, it looked like the Rangers would win 120 games this season and any concerns over the starting rotation could be put to bed. Um, time to revisit that whole thing.
It's definitely not time to panic, by any means. Even after losing two straight series, the Rangers are still tied with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors through the first month of the season.
But, the past five starts for the trio of Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz haven't been too pretty. Harrison has had two terrible outings, granted against two good teams (Tampa Bay and Toronto), Holland has had a painfully average one and a bad one, and Feliz skipped a start and came off the rest Tuesday to turn in a pretty big clunker.
Over the last five starts from those three, they have a combined 10.25 ERA in 26 1/3 innings of work, and are 0-5.
Harrison went through good and bad stretches last season, which is normal for any starting pitcher with the exception of guys like Justin Verlander. Holland was insanely consistent after the all-star break last season, but the Rangers could not have expected that to hold throughout the entire season. There's not much reason to be overly concerned about those two. They're doing what pitchers do.
Feliz, on the other hand, is making a transition from closer to starter this year and has showed flashes of greatness but then hit walls in the middle innings. Even in his eight-inning outing in Detroit against Verlander, he had a bad inning in the middle of the game before bouncing back to finish strong. But there's still a lot of concern around Feliz as a starter this season.
As I said, there is no need to panic yet. But it's something to keep an eye on. If you have to make yourself feel better, just remember the Rangers have two guys who are capable of starting in the bullpen in Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando. Feldman would be the first guy the Rangers turn to as Ogando's role in the bullpen is too important, but they are both options if things just don't work out with Harrison or Feliz.