With last night’s 8-3 loss to the still-mathematically alive Angels, Rangers starter Edinson Volquez became, “statistically speaking, the worst starting pitcher of the last century,” declared the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant.
Volquez fell to 1-6 for the season, 1-10 for his career, but the really ugly number is his career ERA, which is 9.20 for 14 games (11 starts). Since 1900, no pitcher with at least 10 career starts has finished with an ERA of nine or higher.
The Rangers don’t expect Volquez to finish with such unattractive numbers, either. But in two short auditions over the last two seasons, he’s seemed to be overwhelmed by major league hitting.
“He’s had one or two good outings,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He just didn’t have much to defend himself with today. But the good ones figure it out. If he’s got the stuff and the moxie to pitch up here like we think he does, he will figure things out. This is a learning experience, but only if he learns from it.”
Often, he’s gotten himself in trouble with walks, but that wasn’t the problem Monday. He threw strikes. It’s just that the Angels crushed them.
He allowed a one-out single to Orlando Cabrera in the first, then threw a meatball to Vladimir Guerrero. His ringing two-run homer put the Rangers behind. They stayed there all night.
In the next two innings, Volquez was troubled by being unable to finish things off.
He got the first two outs in the second, then allowed a single to No. 9 hitter Chone Figgins. Figgins stole second and scored on a single by Maicer Izturis.
In the third, he allowed three consecutive two-out singles, the last by Howie Kendrick to account for another run.
When he started the fourth by giving up a homer to Figgins, manager Buck Showalter sprinted out of the dugout to make a pitching change. The short evenings have been another disturbing trend in Volquez’s brief career. He’s failed to make it through five innings in eight of his 11 starts; he’s pitched more than five just once.
The Rangers could pitch Volquez in Sunday’s season finale against Seattle, but Showalter was leaning toward giving that start to Robinson Tejeda, who pitches today. Volquez could pitch in relief in that game in an effort to give him some kind of positive finish to this season.
Right now, almost anything would represent progress. Anything, that it is but more runs.