HOUSTON -- Considering how much his rotation has been picked apart this season, Oklahoma City manager Tony DeFrancesco deserves strong consideration for Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year for keeping the RedHawks in contention.
Oklahoma City, which only has one pitcher that began the year in the rotation remaining, is 41-29 and in first place in the PCL's American Southern Division. The RedHawks open a four-game series at Nashville on Tuesday.
The latest pitcher to leave the Oklahoma City rotation was left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who was called up to the Astros and made his Major League debut on Sunday. Jordan Lyles began the year in the rotation and is also now pitching in the rotation for the Astros.
Meanwhile, right-hander Henry Sosa left to pitch in Korea and right-hander Aneury Rodriguez was moved to the bullpen after struggling. The lone remaining starter from the beginning of the season is right-hander Paul Clemens (8-5, 6.29 ERA), and he's been inconsistent.
"We keep piecing it together and we're hanging in there," DeFrancesco said. "Some of our bullpen guys have been stepping up and filling those holes when we need them."
Oklahoma City still needs to find a starter for Saturday, but for now the rotation consists of Wes Musick, Armando Gallaraga, Brian Bass and Clemens. Gallaraga and Bass were signed in recent weeks, and Musick, a lefty, began the year at Class A Lancaster.
"We're doing OK," DeFrancesco said. "The pitching is going to be there when we need it. [Jose] Valdez's arm is tender and we lost him for the last few games. He's been quite a surprise in the bullpen."
Valdez was closing games for the RedHawks and had racked up 13 saves, but Oklahoma City is going with closer by committee until he returns.