So, here's me on Sunday:
"Ogando looks great. See, what'd I say? They need better innings than they're getting from Feldman. God, I'm smart. And interesting. And… wait…. He's leaving the game?!?!?!
Alexi Ogando needs to stop being so sensitive, and not go getting his groin in a wad when he lays down a bunt. In the third inning. After three blessed, perfect, perfect innings.
And now he's on the DL.
"Double (expletive deleted)."
Despite my previous admonishment not to panic, Ogando on the DL could spell Red Sox 2011* for the Rangers. In my eyes, he's the most important guy on this pitching staff -- ** its linchpin. The guy that can do it all -- start, not start, long relief, 7th inning guy, entertain your kids at a birthday party guy, setup guy, I'm sure he could close*-- and was being asked to do a lot of it.
Ogando's DL stint illustrates the issue(s) the Rangers face right now: the health of the pitching staff and poor timing. Ogando, versatile guy that he is, was the Band-Aid until the Band-Aid, bad lower back and all, gets here. Or until Derek Holland (who, even healthy, comes with his own hobo bindle full of question marks) returns. Ogando's ability to start was a huge perk, but even that was taxing on the bullpen. Injuries tax the non-injured players. That's how baseball go (it's not as folksy when I say it). Ogando being out now (with two starters gone*** and a huge question mark of a replacement still tuning up) may prove as disastrous to the bullpen as to the already ailing rotation. Bad timing.
The Ranger bats will be back. They averaged four runs a game over the weekend. Not horrible, but not the 5.27 they're averaging for the season. Problem is, with Ogando and his petulant groin on a DL staycation, the Rangers are going to need that extra 1.27 runs (I feel like a robot might be able to score .27 of a run) to stay afloat, which wasn't necessarily the case up until about three weeks ago.
Still, necessity is the mother of invention****. With Alexi out, look for a lot more from the young and thus far outstanding Robbie Ross. Although it is telling of the current mess of things that the Rangers are filling his roster spot with a guy who has cancer. Hey, if they need an expendable arm, maybe they could sign that outfielder that used to play for us who once filled in on the mound in a blowout loss. Oh wait, he blew out his elbow in that game. Meh, I wouldn't want to distract him from his twitter feed, anyway.
**At least until Yu Darvish, I don't wanna say "becomes Justin Verlander" because, you know...And I don't know if "matures" is right either...but he does need to settle in and throw more strikes. Now.
***I hope you have a lot of fond memories of Neftali Feliz and maybe an iPhone pic, because he's not coming back anytime soon.