Derek Holland's injury alters bullpen
|Ben and Skin react to the news that Rangers lefty Derek Holland is being placed on the DL and that Josh Hamilton may be causing a rift in the clubhouse.
So at this point, the Rangers are plugging the hole vacated by Holland with Ogando. So that means two pitchers who were in the bullpen to start the season -- Scott Feldman and Ogando -- are now in the rotation. Oswalt will join the rotation, at this point around June 20. He would likely take Feldman's spot, but we'll see if Holland's injury alters anything there.
Tanner Scheppers joins a bullpen that looks a little different without Ogando, who is one of the most versatile relievers in the game. Ogando has struggled recently, giving up a run in five of his final seven appearances in May. He does have a 0.00 ERA in three June outings, but has allowed inherited runners to score. The guy who was automatic for the ALDS and ALCS last year hasn't really shown up this season. Part of that is that his secondary stuff hasn't been quite as sharp, so hitters have been able to key on his fastball. And even though it can come at them at 98 mph, if big league hitters know it's coming, they can make adjustments and hit it. Starting will force Ogando to rely more on his secondary stuff, and we'll see if it improves.
Koji Uehara has pitched well this season and will now pitch in tighter, more important spots as the primary seventh-inning setup man since Ogando is in the rotation. Uehara has a 1.33 ERA in 20 1/3 innings, and since allowing runs in back-to-back outings in April, the right-hander has given up one run in his last 16 1/3 innings. That has earned him the confidence of the skipper.
"[Uehara] will get a chance to set up Mike Adams," Washington said. "He's been pitching extremely well. He's got an opportunity to step it up, and he can be seventh or eighth inning, depends on availability of Mike Adams. [Uehara] has done a great job. When Mike Adams and Ogando were available, Ogando was first. Now Ogando is not there, so [Uehara] has a chance to step up."
Washington still has Mike Adams as his primary eighth-inning guy, along with closer Joe Nathan. Robbie Ross has shown some versatility and can pitch in various spots, too. Mark Lowe can also help bridge the gap if needed.
But Holland's injury means the bullpen will have a different look in the middle innings and even later. That's one thing to watch going forward, to see how those pitchers react to different roles -- and whether it becomes an area of need at the trade deadline.
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