Nick Martinez has had a year no one could've reasonably expected from him so far in 2015.
He wasn't even in the rotation plans in spring training, and was most likely going to get some much-needed seasoning in the minors after he made a huge leap into the rotation last year and held his own while posting an ERA in the mid-4.00s.
Of course, injuries to Yu Darvish and Derek Holland changed plans for Martinez, and the second-year righty made the most of his opportunity by entering May with an ERA less than 1.00. He's come back to Earth a bit since the calendar turned to May, and it appeared his wheels completely came off back on June 3 against the White Sox.
In that game, Martinez allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in just 3 1/3 innings, and in the process he watched his ERA climb from 2.03 to 2.89 with one bad outing.
After that, though, Martinez was back to his old ways — tossing six scoreless innings of one-hit ball in a win over Oakland and following that with two straight quality starts against a good Twins team and that same White Sox team that ripped him a new one earlier in the month.
But in his last start against Toronto over the weekend, things turned sour again against arguably the scariest lineup in baseball.
The Blue Jays rocked Martinez for nine runs on nine hits over six innings as he allowed two homers, including a first-inning grand slam.
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Now, the Rangers hope he can bounce back the way he did earlier this month against a pretty good Orioles lineup in an extremely hitter-friendly park. If Martinez can respond like he did the last time he had a bad outing, the Rangers will win their first series since taking two of three from Minnesota in mid-June.