There are thousands of high school athletes in DFW that have higher follower counts on Twitter than Texas Rangers pitcher Ross Wolf had on Wednesday. That tells you about all you need to know about Wolf and his name recognition prior to making a spot start on Wednesday to fill in for Nick Tepesch, who was scratched with a blister on his throwing hand.
The Rangers seemed poised to get swept at home by their closest AL West rivals, the Oakland A's, after the A's took the first two games of a three-game set and were licking their chops to face a 30-year-old journeyman pitcher who went no less than three years before stints in the big leagues as a reliever and had never made a big-league start.
Until Wednesday, that is, when Wolf went five innings against the A's, allowing one run and getting out of a couple of jams after setting down the order in order through the first three innings. It was all the Rangers could've asked for and more from a guy that wasn't expected to give them much — not nearly as much as Josh Lindblom was expected to give in Monday's spot start, in which he failed miserably.
"If you had told me at spring training I would be here with this team," Wolf told ESPN Dallas, "I would have called you a liar."
It'd be impossible to find a soul on this Earth who would've thought otherwise after Wolf struggled through spring training as a non-roster invitee.
But on Wednesday, Wolf was a huge part of the Rangers' lead staying at 5 1/2 games in the AL West instead of being cut to 3 1/2 — a huge swing game for the Rangers as they head out on the road for a weekend series in Seattle.
Now, he's pitched his way into consideration for making another start on Monday, when the Rangers will need someone to start one of two games of a scheduled doubleheader in Arizona. Yu Darvish is set to start one of the games, but the other starters is still a question mark. You'd have to think Wolf is a strong candidate after Wednesday's outing.
"I've always had starter's stuff," Wolf said. "The opportunity to start again has opened up a window."