Martinez Has First Hiccup of the Year

Nick Martinez, who if all had gone as planned this year probably would either be in Triple-A Round Rock or serving as the Rangers' long reliever, has surprisingly turned into the team's best starting pitcher through the first month of the season.

In fact, entering Thursday night's game in Tampa, Martinez was second in the American League in ERA and the Rangers were 5-0 in games he'd started.

Now, the Rangers are 6-0 in those games, but Thursday's game wasn't a normally efficient, harmless outing for Martinez. The second-year righty had his struggles, and didn't even make it through the fifth inning before skipper Jeff Banister came to get him after he'd allowed three runs — the most he's given up this season.

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The start also saw a streak snapped for Martinez, as he fell one start shy of tying the franchise mark (going back to the days of the Washington Senators) of 12 straight starts of allowing two earned runs or less, dating back to last season.

We've been waiting for the other shoe to drop on Martinez, whose advanced stats don't really add up to a guy who's been as dominant as he's been through the first month of the season, and you can't say that happened with one mediocre start in which he left with a lead and his team still won. For a guy like Martinez, it'd be a victory if he finished the year with an ERA in the 3s, and he's definitely on pace to do just that.

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