San Diego right-hander Tyson Ross struggled through a forgettable stint as a member of the Texas Rangers last season but is enjoying a rejuvenation this year with the Padres.
Ross said he won’t bring any bad feelings with him to the mound when the two teams square off in the middle contest of the three-game, interleague set on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Texas took the opening game of the series 7-4 on Monday as Shin-Soo Choo had three hits and drove in one of the Rangers’ five runs in the pivotal sixth inning. The victory was Texas’ eighth in its past nine games.
Ross (5-5, 3.34 ERA) will try to help San Diego even the set while the Rangers will counter with right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 4.58).
Ross had surgery prior to the 2017 campaign to address thoracic outlet syndrome and made only 12 appearances for Texas before he was released in mid-September after posting a 7.71 ERA.
“I’d probably have struggled no matter where I was last year, just being five, six months out of surgery and picking up a baseball again,” Ross told MLB.com. “It was a lot of ups and downs in that year with Texas. But I think it was growing pains, and I was going to go through it no matter where I was, really.”
Ross will make his 16th start of the season. The Padres have won six of his past eight starts and are 10-5 overall when he takes the mound.
Ross was the losing pitcher on June 21 at San Francisco in his most recent outing despite tossing seven innings in which he allowed just one run. He received zero run support for the second consecutive outing and has worked five or more innings in 14 of his 15 starts, including nine quality outings.
Prior to Monday’s win, Texas manager Jeff Banister was campaigning for a spot for Choo in this year’s All-Star Game. Choo has never played in the midseason classic in his 14-year major league career.
Choo reached base for the 38th straight game, which is a career-high, with the first of his three hits on Monday.
“With how things have gone for us on a day-to-day basis, and what he’s done, I believe that Choo should be recognized as a guy that should have an opportunity to be an All-Star,” Banister opined. “Choo’s an on-base guy first, and when he’s doing that, he’s seeing pitches. He’s focused more on driving the ball that he gets to hit. He’s really good at it, and it keeps him from chasing balls out of the zone.”
Bibens-Dirkx will take the bump for his fourth start of the season and will be working on extended five days’ rest after earning his first win of the year in the Rangers’ 3-2 victory on Wednesday at Kansas City. He was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock prior to that start for his second stint with Texas in 2018.
Bibens-Dirkx is the second Texas starter to win without a strikeout since the start of 2012 (also Colby Lewis, April 29, 2016, vs. Los Angeles), and is the first to do it on the road since Tommy Hunter on Aug. 22, 2010, at Baltimore.
Bibens-Dirkx’ unique outing last Wednesday is also the only quality start without a strikeout in MLB this season. He has never faced the Padres.