ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 15: Robbie Ross #46 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 15, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Robbie Ross had put together two OK outings in his first two big-league starts — effectively wild and inefficient, but he didn't allow many runs and kept his team in games.
On Tuesday night, Ross was stellar in picking up his first win as a big-league starter by shutting down the Seattle Mariners with a ridiculously efficient outing of 7 2/3 innings with just two strikeouts and no walks as he induced 16 groundball outs — a league-high so far this year.
Ross is making it incredibly tough on the Rangers' coaching staff. What seemed to be a short-term stop-gap in the rotation is now becoming a serviceable No. 3 starter or a very good No. 4 starter. Granted, it's a small sample, but so far, so very good for Ross, the career reliever until he was moved into the rotation to start this season with injuries to Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis.
Lewis is back, and Harrison is following soon. That means people will have to move back to the bullpen and it seems Tanner Scheppers will be the leading candidate to do so, as Ross has clearly outpitched him.
Scheppers still has a bright future with the Rangers, but it's as a reliever, where he excelled last season as one of the league's top setup men.
Ross' 90 pitches on Tuesday were his fewest of any of his three starts this season, and he went two innings deeper than his previous career-high. That's progress, folks. Let's hope he can continue it on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox.