A Tale of Two Unlikely Heroes
I strongly believe that baseball enjoys making folks look stupid. The more an individual knows about baseball, the more likely they are to be wrong. In 2010 when I was younger in my baseball fanaticism, I predicted in June that the Rangers would trade for Cliff Lee, and go to the World Series. My elder brother scoffed at the time, but now I have the last laugh. If someone told me Nick Martinez would lead the MLB in ERA during the month of April, I would have cackled in their face. Sure enough:
Just like we all thought before the season, Mitch has an OPS around .900 and Nick Martinez has an ERA of 0.35 after 4 starts.
— Robert Pike (@Bob_Pike) April 27, 2015
The former Fordham second baseman pitched a total of 26.1 innings with a 5.47 ERA in college. In his final collegiate year, Martinez pitched 19.2 innings with a 2.75 ERA and as many strikeouts (20) as hits allowed. In April of 2015, Martinez has pitched 26 innings and allowed only one earned run. Just one. His April ERA of 0.35 was less than half of Clayton Kershaw‘s June 2014 ERA of 0.82.
No, Martinez isn’t Kershaw, but per Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News “Nick Martinez will finish April with the lowest ERA for a qualifier in the opening month since Roger Clemens in 1991.” That’s pretty darn special for a dude that almost didn’t become a pitcher. T.R. Sullivan wrote an excellent piece on Martinez’s journey for MLB.com. I went to look up highlights of Martinez’s starts. and I found one major recurring theme. Martinez leaves ’em loaded, Martinez leaves ’em loaded, Martinez induces bases-loaded DP. He doesn’t have incredible stuff, Martinez just knows how to pitch. He uses the seven dudes behind him with leather gloves to do their jobs and catch some baseballs. This was most likely the most entertaining highlight I found.
Mitch Moreland haters beware, for your days are numbered. Unless you blame players for being hurt, in which case, continue hating. Moreland has been lighting it up of late and that was exciting until he hit the disabled list. That’s been too prevalent a theme with this team for far too long. Moreland currently leads the team in OPS at .849, with a .393 OBP, and slugging percentage at .457. Moreland has also provided timely hits, including this game tying RBI against Anaheim. Don’t forget the value Moreland has added with his glove by giving Prince Fielder a few nights off from the field. The country boy also from time to time will catch your eye with fun plays such as this.
These two have been the pleasant surprises of April for the Rangers. Will they keep up this level of dominance for the season? Probably not, but it was fun to watch these two in what was an otherwise difficult month for the Rangers.