It is the middle of August and the Texas Rangers again find themselves in the midst of another battle to with the AL West. To do so, the Rangers may have to try and win the division without the help of starting pitcher Alexi Ogando. On Saturday, the Rangers announced that Ogando will be shut down for at least one start as he battles inflammation in his pitching shoulder. On Monday, Ranger’s beat writer T.R. Sullivan reported that the club has selected newly acquired left-hander Travis Blackley to start against his former team in Ogando’s place on Tuesday.
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Blackley, who was purchased from Houston on August 14, probably will not be called upon to start any other games this year, but may help the Rangers fill a void later in the season, especially with the recent struggles of LHP Robbie Ross. Blackley has respectable numbers throughout his 13-year pro career. In the minors, Blackley has a combined win-loss record of 70-59 with a 3.93 ERA. Additionally the left-hander has a WHIP of 1.314 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.19. In his 78 games in the majors, Blackley has been able to excel against left-handed hitters and has held them to a .231 batting average and an on-base percentage of .295. Expect Blackley to be sent back to the minors after his Tuesday start, but you may see him again when the Rangers expand their rosters in September.
While the Rangers will use Blackley on Tuesday, they may keep scouring the market for available arms if Alexi Ogando either transitions back to the bullpen to relieve stress on his arm or if he is shut down for the remainder of the year. As Through the Fence Baseball writer Todd Kaufmann points out, the Rangers could look at either Houston Astros’ Erik Bedard or Washington Nationals’ Dan Haren, who both cleared waivers last week. Neither are having stellar years but both have dominated at different points in their careers. Maybe if one was to join a team in the middle of a playoff race, it may help him return to form.
With the injury of Alexi Ogando to the acquisition of Blackley to the recent struggles of Ross, there seems to be a lot of moving parts to the Texas Rangers pitching staff. It will remain to be seen what the front office decides to do with fifth spot in the starting rotation, but whoever it is, the Rangers hope he will be able to catapult them to another AL West championship.