Quality starts aren’t supposed to be this routine. The Rangers now have 29 in 2016 after Cesar Ramos held the Astros to one run (a solo homer) on two hits over six innings Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
For perspective, the Rangers had 79 quality starts in 2015. That’s 49 percent of their games. The league average in ’15 was 50 percent.
So far in ’16, the Rangers are up to 67 percent and they’re about to get Yu Darvish back in the rotation.
Here’s a look at the rotation through Saturday’s game. These numbers are for starts only, which only pertains to Cesar Ramos, who has worked out of the bullpen twice.
(Sorted by ERA)
Speaking of Darvish, he leads off the three Rangers reactions after another 2-1 win in Houston:
1. Yu got game — Darvish makes his fifth (and perhaps final?) rehab start at 4:05 p.m. Sunday with Double A Frisco at Dr Pepper Ballpark. He’ll face the San Antonio Missions, the Padres’ affiliate. It’s most likely to be his final rehab start before joining the Rangers. If you’re looking to secure tickets for his first start back in Arlington, I’d put my money on Friday or Saturday, May 27-28. If he’s ready to go, the Rangers will have to decide whether Cole Hamels, who starts Sunday’s finale in Houston, will remain on his preferred four days’ rest and pitch Friday, or have Darvish go on a normal four days. In his last rehab outing, Darvish allowed an unearned run on three hits and a walk while striking out six in Midland.
2. Dyson has ups — Sam Dyson skied off the mound in the ninth Saturday night to snag a hard bouncer off the bat of Jose Altuve. It came on the first pitch he threw. After coming down with the stop, he threw to first base for the first out en route to his fourth save and second in consecutive nights since being named the Rangers’ closer. Dyson, when asked about the jump, took the opportunity to dis his relief brethren Jake Diekman, who also pitched well Saturday. He struck out two in a perfect eighth before handing the game over to Dyson. Diekman, who has several inches on Dyson, looks like he could take Dyson in a game of one-on- one hoops but Dyson claims that’s not the case. In fact, Dyson said, he proved it during spring training on the club’s basketball hoop.
“My vertical is higher than Diekman’s,” Dyson offered without solicitation. “I dunked on him.”
But back to baseball. Dyson said he felt a little more comfortable during his seven-pitch save on Saturday because he had worked the night before. Before Friday, the last time Dyson pitched was Sunday when he earned his second save against the Blue Jays the day fists flew.
“It was different [Saturday],” he said. “It’s kind of getting back in the groove. It felt a lot better. If I don’t pitch in a while it gets kind of cranky.”
3. Happy birthday, Josh — Josh Hamilton turned 35 Saturday. He is not in Houston with the Rangers. His return to the club is unknown. The last time the Rangers provided an update was last week, and that was only to tell us that he was still working with trainers to work out the soreness in his left knee. For his sake, it would be nice to see a return but with each week it seems more and more unlikely. His knee, perhaps, after multiple operations and 30 years of wear and tear, has nothing left.