Robbie Ross wasn't supposed to pitch on Thursday night in the series opener against the Seattle Mariners. That was supposed to be Scott Baker, who came down with the Rangers' ailment of the year — neck stiffness — and had to be pushed back a day to Friday.
Ross' outing on Thursday went horribly, and now Baker is set to make his start on Friday night against the Mariners hoping to end the Rangers' losing skid at six games.
Baker has done yeoman's work this season as the Rangers' long man/spot starter, and when a team is as bad as the Rangers have been, a long man is a relied upon piece of your bullpen. On Friday, Baker will make his third straight start after going since early July without making a start and just making relief appearances.
Baker is 3-3 after the Rangers had lost Baker's first 20 appearances of the season in one of the odder stats you'll ever come across, but now they've won his last three — all three of which have been wins for Baker. In his last start against Houston, Baker got a ton of run support and held the Astros in check while going 6 1/3 innings while allowing just two runs in a 13-6 win.
Baker has definitely pitched his way into the Rangers' 2015 plans, even if it is just as their long man. He's taken the ball whenever possible, not complained about his role like some of the Rangers' previous long men (Scott Feldman, ahem) and pitched pretty well, especially lately.