DENVER, CO - MAY 06: Manager Ron Washington #38 of the Texas Rangers visits the mound to talk to starting pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. #46 of the Texas Rangers as he works against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning during Interleague play at Coors Field on May 6, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Texas Rangers' bullpen appears to finally be gearing up to be what the club expected it to be back before spring training, with a couple of subtle differences.
One by one, guys are getting healthy and ready, as Tanner Scheppers was activated from the DL and brought back to the bullpen on Thursday. Neftali Feliz is apparently close to being ready to make his season debut after trying to rediscover what made him an all-star closer. And Robbie Ross Jr., who like Scheppers, started the season in the starting rotation out of necessity.
Ross, like Scheppers, struggled in his new role, though not as badly. He went 1-4 with a 4.78 ERA as a starter and has now made five appearances out of the bullpen, coming to the brink of possibly being sent down for Scheppers before Alexi Ogando hit the DL when he two straight bad outings against the Tigers and Nationals.
Now, he's had two straight good outings, including Thursday night's, which could qualify as "great."
Ross worked the sixth and seventh innings and picked up a win after needing just 22 pitches to work two perfect innings with two strikeouts.
Ross was such a valuable piece of the Rangers' bullpen in 2012 and was nearly as good last season after teams had a book on him. If he can get back to being that, he's just another piece of the ever-evolving bullpen that could give the Rangers a chance to make a run to October despite everything bad that's happened to them this year.