By this time tomorrow, one of the bigger questions of spring will be answered. Hopefully.
Who will the fifth starter be.
Both candidates are lined up and ready to take the ball.
Chi Chi Gonzalez is scheduled to start the 3:05 game against the Reds, while A. J. Griffin takes the ball in the 9:05 night game against his former team, the Athletics, for whom who pitched a couple of memorable seasons before being derailed by elbow and shoulder surgeries.
Gonzalez enjoyed a bit of big league success himself, if not as long as Griffin, coming up last year in dominating fashion for his first two games, allowing no runs in his first two games, the second of which was a complete game shutout.
But the league caught up to him, as major league hitters do. He won his first two games, lost his next five, then found himself out of the rotation. This spring he has yet to record a strikeout in an A game. Perhaps that will come today.
A.J. Griffin was the up and coming ace on the Oakland staff when he forced his way into the Athletics’ rotation in 2012, going 7-1 with a really nice 3.05 ERA. He logged 200 innings in 2013, posting a 14-10 record. Then the wheels fell off. Or, more aptly, the ligaments fell off. First in his elbow. Then in his shoulder.
After Griffin recovered for two seasons, Jon Daniels rolled the dice. He may have rolled a seven. This spring, Griffin is starting to show signs of the brilliance he once flashed.
So, it all comes down to a cage match. The incumbent Gonzalez or the challenger Griffin.
May the best arm win.
Because that means the Rangers win.