Ranaudo exceeds expectations in spot start

Rangers pitcher throws 6 2/3 scoreless innings in loss

Ranaudo exceeds expectations in spot start

LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Ranaudo did not get credit for a win in his second start for the Rangers. But he did pitch Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke to a scoreless stalemate for almost seven innings, and that was impressive enough on Thursday night.

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Ranaudo did not allow a run in 6 2/3 innings, holding the Dodgers to five hits and two walks while striking out four. Greinke threw seven scoreless in a game that wasn't decided until Keone Kela balked in the ninth inning to give the Dodgers a 1-0 victory.

Ranaudo's outing may not get him another start anytime soon, but it was strong early evidence that the Rangers might be on to something with an expanded rotation. It may be a five-man rotation with an occasional spot starter or a six-man rotation, but the Rangers are warming to the idea of getting their starters extra rest whenever possible.

Ranaudo advanced his candidacy to be at least an occasional spot starter. In addition to his impressive performance on Thursday, Ranaudo also can be optioned back and forth from Triple-A when needed.

"We were very encouraged by what we saw from Ranaudo," manager Jeff Banister said. "It was a mature outing. He attacked the strike zone, used his fastball very well, moved it in and out. His changeup was in play as well as his breaking ball. More than anything else, he looked very settled on the mound. He was in control of himself and his pitches."

Ranaudo said it was the best outing of his Major League career, a small sample that includes seven starts with the Red Sox last season. But it was a huge improvement over his only other start with the Rangers when he gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings in a 10-2 loss to the Angels on April 15.

"It's unfortunate that we didn't win the game, but I felt good about the outing," Ranaudo said. "I was able to settle in early and relax. I was able to control my fastball early and had command of my curveball all night. I was able to keep them off-balance."

Ranaudo on Solid Start

Ranaudo may end up going back to Triple-A Round Rock. He was called up only to give the regular five starters an extra day of rest. Banister said the Rangers will make that decision Friday.

"That's not up to me," Ranaudo said. "I can only control what I can control, and that's my approach to the game. Obviously I want to be a part of this team and part of this staff, anyway I can. But other people will decide where I am going to pitch next."

If Ranaudo does get sent down, he at least gave the Rangers something to think about the next time they need a starter.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.