Robbie Ross Devolves From Star to Starter, to Round Rock

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This is the kind of year it’s been for the Texas Rangers: Most players have been injured, and the ones that have managed to stay healthy have underperformed.

I give you the case of Robbie Ross.

Before Tuesday night’s 10-6 loss to the Oakland A’s in which ace Yu Darvish allowed another seven runs to his nemesis and lost his eighth straight start to the AL West leaders, Ross was demoted to AAA Round Rock. Hard to remember, but he began the season in the starting rotation.

When he burst onto the scene in 2012 he was a quirky, nasty lefty that could get out left-handed hitters. He went 6-0 with an ERA of 2.22. Last year he was 4-2 out of the bullpen with another respectable ERA of 3.03 over 62 innings. But the Rangers’ decision – out of necessity, mind you – to make him a starter backfired big time.

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In nine starts he went 2-4 with a 5.61 ERA, and allowed seven homers after surrendering only seven in the previous two seasons combined. Control was really his problem. The worst kind of control. Not necessarily wild, but wild in the strike zone.

Moved back to the bullpen, he gave up 12 runs and 22 hits in his last 11 innings of work, and gave up a homer to Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes Monday night that punched his ticket back to the minors.

While Aaron Poreda has been called up to take Ross’ relief role with the Rangers, at Round Rock Ross will be a starter again with time to work on his mechanics and motion. In a season in which the Rangers don’t have a lot of healthy arms, Ross needs to regain his form. Fast.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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