After switching him back and forth between the bullpen and rotation for three seasons the Rangers are now committed to sticking with Alexi Ogando as a full-time starter.
And he’s happy about that, telling T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com: “This is what I want. For me, starting is easier. You have four days off and every fifth day you pitch. I like the routine of the starter.”
Ogando made the All-Star team as a starter in 2011 and has a 3.49 ERA in 30 career starts, but he also has a 2.53 ERA in 103 career relief appearances.
Sullivan notes that one big difference for Ogando is that he relied almost exclusively on his fastball-slider combination as a reliever, using his changeup just 11 times in 1,040 pitches. As a starter in 2011 he threw his changeup about four times more often, which still isn’t much, but he’s apparently planning to work it into his repertoire more this season.
Mets starter Steven Matz helped his own cause again, belting a solo home run in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Matz turned on a 1-1 breaking ball from Cy Young contender Aaron Nola, breaking a scoreless tie.
Matz also homered in his previous start against the Marlins last Thursday. According to MLB Stat of the Day, he is the third Mets pitcher to homer in back-to-back starts, joining Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).
Matz is the fourth full-time pitcher to hit multiple home runs this season, joining the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen (four), and the Cardinals’ John Gant and Miles Mikolas (two each). The last Mets pitcher to hit multiple home runs in a season was Noah Syndergaard, who hit three in 2016.
Along with the bat, Matz has also been dealing on the mound. As of this writing, he has held the Phillies scoreless over five innings despite walking five batters and allowing two hits.