The Texas Rangers are somehow in contention in late June, and a big reason for it has been their starting rotation, which is the sixth best in all of baseball from a statistical standpoint. That's a rotation that was dealt two serious blows in March and April when Yu Darvish needed Tommy John surgery and Derek Holland was shelved indefinitely with a shoulder strain.
Yet, this has all somehow come together and led the Rangers to a record of four games above .500 and a second-place standing in the AL West with serious playoff aspirations in tow.
And imagine this: Holland, Martin Perez and Matt Harrison back in the Rangers' rotation sooner rather than later. What could that do to a rotation that has been remarkably solid? And who will be kicked out of the rotation when those names begin coming back?
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First, let's take a look at the current rotation and what they've accomplished this season.
Yovani Gallardo — 6-6, 2.98 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 66 Ks, 87 2/3 innings
Chi Chi Gonzalez — 2-1, 0.90 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10 Ks, 30 innings
Colby Lewis — 7-3, 4.08 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 68 Ks, 88 1/3 innings
Wandy Rodriguez — 4-2, 3.20 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 50 Ks, 64 2/3 innings
Nick Martinez — 5-3, 2.77 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 50 Ks, 84 1/3 innings
As far as name recogntion, I'd put them in this order: Gallardo, Lewis, Rodriguez, Martinez, Gonzalez.
Effectiveness? Let's go Gallardo, Martinez, Gonzalez (small sample), Rodriguez and Lewis.
Now, I'm an unabashed Colby Lewis supporter, so I can't imagine the Rangers without him in the rotation given his competitive edge and grit. In reality, the first to go would likely be Gonzalez, who could still benefit from some more minor-league innings and dominating at Triple-A, as this fantastic start isn't going to last.
Harrison is the first to be scheduled to return, and it's still a huge question mark if he'll be able to complete his unlikely return from spinal fusion surgery. Then, it's Perez. Holland would definitely kick someone out, so there could be two, possibly three guys, on the block with the internal returns.
It's going to be interesting to see what comes of the Rangers' rotation in the next month, and with the trade deadline approaching and the Rangers apparently being players for a frontline starter (possibly Cole Hamels), someone like Martinez could be pitching for another team.
One thing is for sure, it's nice to have so much depth — the complete opposite of the disastrous 2014 season.
“We’ve got five guys throwing the ball well right now,” GM Jon Daniels told the Star-Telegram. “It’s a lot better than a year ago this time. Things change quickly in this game. We’re talking through our options, but until we have to make those calls, there’s no need to get ahead of yourself.”