The Curious Case of Alexi Ogando
Thanks to the lowly Mariners' late rally to beat the Angels, the Rangers' lead remains at 3.5 and their magic numbers had shrunk to 23. No thanks to Ogando, who dug his team an early hole for the second consecutive start.
While James Shields dominated the 4-1 Rays' win by getting the Rangers to consistently swing at nasty stuff in the dirt, Ogando looked early on to have re-discovered "it." Notsamuch. After striking out three of the first four batter and retiring Johnny Damon on a harmless tapper, it got real ugly real fast.
Ogando lost his control, walking two and hitting another before not making it out of the 3rd inning. Manager Ron Washington was forced to use his bullpen, which included a stint by usual fifth starter Matt Harrison.
Once upon a time Ogando was 7-0. But he might have just hit the wall. He's at 150 innings, twice as many as threw last season. The results? He's been rocked by the Red Sox and Rays his last two starts and in August he's ERA ballooned from 2.88 to 3.68.
Right now I'd rather have Scott Feldman's sinker than Ogando's stinker.
In other pitching news, thumbs up to Mark Hamburger's scoreless-inning debut and another thumbs down to Koji Uehara, who allowed yet another homer -- to Damon -- and has now surrendered a run in four of his last five starts.
Tonight the Rangers get back Adrian Beltre. They could use the return of Ogando.