ARLINGTON -- It wasn’t Glenn Otto’s final start of his rookie season, but if it was the beginning of an early audition for the 2023 rotation, the right-hander put himself in good position.
In Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Cleveland, Otto put together 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the American League Central leaders -- who can now clinch the division title in the series finale at Globe Life Field. He worked four hitless innings to open the matchup before surrendering his first hit -- a game-tying homer by Oscar Gonzalez to lead off the fifth.
“I thought Glenn did a good job,” said interim manager Tony Beasley. “He threw the ball well. He had everything working pretty good tonight. He didn’t have the same velocity on his fastball as we've seen ... so he located the ball well. The sinker was good. He got a lot of ground balls and quick outs.
“He did a really good job for us, and pitched into the sixth inning. Arguably he could’ve finished that sixth, but we went with a better matchup with the runner on third. It worked out for us. I was really, really pleased with how he finished tonight. He was efficient with his pitch count.”
Otto threw 44 of his 73 pitches for strikes. Most notably, he walked just one batter, extending his streak to six straight starts of two or fewer walks. He’s issued just five walks through five September starts, compared to 16 in five August starts.
Walks have been the biggest issue keeping Otto from being an effective starter for the Rangers this season.
Otto's walks and ERA by month in 2022:
- April (2 starts): 3, 2.89 ERA
- May (5 starts): 15, 4.85 ERA
- June (2 starts): 8, 10.29 ERA
- July (6 starts): 12, 5.76 ERA
- August (5 starts): 16, 2.93 ERA
- September (5 starts): 5, 4.50 ERA
Although a COVID-IL stint from June 10-26 affected his endurance and efficiency in those first few starts in July, Otto began working through more jams created by walks into August while ultimately limiting the walks into September.
“I think it's just a mindset,” Beasley said. “Just make up your mind that you're going to attack hitters and force hitters to swing the bat, do something within a certain amount of pitches, and that's kind of what he's been doing. And that's worked out for him. He's gotten ground balls, and we've made plays behind him. And when you make teams earn things, it's a little bit tougher. That's what he's done the last few times out.”
The emergence of Otto or another young Rangers starter would do wonders for Texas going into the offseason. As it stands, the Rangers are looking to add multiple starters for the 2023 season, while also hoping one of Otto, Dane Dunning and Cole Ragans can ultimately be a middle-of-the-rotation arm for the club.
With Dunning being shut down for the rest of the season to undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, the future is even more cloudy for the Rangers' rotation.
Otto’s solid start and any success down the stretch is good news, at least, for his own spot in the rotation.
“Potentially, [looking at adding three or four starters],” said general manager Chris Young before the game. “Whether or not those are all going to be Major League deals or not, we'll assess it. But there's going to be a robust free-agent market and trade market, and we'll explore every way we can to make the team better.”