It's a season dedicated to development for the Rangers, which means games like Thursday night's are more about the progression of individual players than it is about salvaging a sweep against the Rays or shaving a half game off of the 25.5-game division lead held by the Oakland Athletics.
Robbie Ross gets the start in place of an injured Yu Darvish, marking his return to the major leagues after being optioned to Triple-A Round Rock on June 17 - the lowpoint for a pitcher who's seen nothing but success at the Big League level.
Manager Ron Washington was asked Thursday afternoon what Ross needed to work on in his stint with the Express, and Wash rattled off four quick things:
'Get the ball in on left-handers, be able to throw the ball to his glove side, slow the game down, concentrate on each pitch he decides to throw and commit to it,' he said.
Ross carried a 4-4 record and a 5.10 ERA through his time with Round Rock, but has been sharp in his last five outings, posting a 2.91 ERA in that span.
Washington's mantra is that baseball is a game all about 'adjusting and readjusting.' Ross, who was a reliever for two seasons before moving to the rotation this year, made the adjustments required to become the third starter, but failed to readjust, posting a 6.97 ERA through his last six starts.
'Sometimes when you're at the major league level the brain and nervous system is working overtime and you can't think,' Washington said. 'Especially with our young kids, you have to guide them as to what you're seeing, and it's usually after the fact.'
Washington said the future hasn't been determined for Ross, whose promotion had a lot to do with Thursday's game falling on his scheduled day to pitch. But what the start certainly is for Ross is a second chance to show Big League adjustments.
His last chance to develop and adjust to starting at the major league level came in May when the team's priorities were different. It's a different story for the club, and Ross can hope Thursday is the beginning of a different story for him.
A return to 2012-13 form for Ross (2.62 ERA, 3.29 FIP) would be a welcome sight for Texas, no matter how far away the prospect of contention (or how close the prospect of the No. 1 overall draft pick) is.
The roster move that accompanied the promotion of Ross to the Big League club was Nate Adcock heading back to Round Rock.
Alex Claudio was promoted to the Rangers from Triple A along with the news that Yu Darvish would head to the DL with elbow inflammation. Claudio, a 22-year-old left-hander, pitched a scoreless inning on nine pitches Wednesday despite showing up at the ballpark after game time. Claudio has been on the club's radar, and was the choice to stick around in Yu's absence.
'It gives us another lefty and gives Adcock a chance to go down and straighten out his mechanics,' Washington said.
Adcock gave up five earned runs in 10 innings (4.50 ERA), allowing at least a run in four of seven appearances, with Texas before being optioned Thursday.