Robbie Ross Jr. had a serious problem on his hands in 2013. He hit a rough stretch that nearly cost him a spot in the Texas Rangers' bullpen and put him at the very bottom of manager Ron Washington's heirarchy of trust.
He simply couldn't get left-handed batters out, which is not a common problem for left-handed pitchers. Lefties lit Ross up last year, to the tune of a .341 batting average and .412 on-base percentage in 91 at-bats, and while he slightly improved late in the year, it still wasn't good.
That was a big concern this season when the Rangers announced Ross would be moved to the starting rotation, at least temporarily, to fill voids left by injuries to the starting staff. But so far, so good for Ross against lefties.
In 36 at-bats over his four starts, lefties are hitting just .167 with a .244 on-base percentage -- much more in line with what a quality left-handed pitcher should do against lefties.
Ross gets a chance tonight to bounce back from his worst outing of the year as he'll draw a slumping Seattle Mariners lineup to open a three-game set in Seattle. Just last week, Ross had his best outing as a starter, tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings in earning his first big-league victory as a starter.