LAS VEGAS -- Rangers starter Robbie Ross did not allow a run in his outing against the Cubs on Sunday. The problem was he only lasted three innings and 79 pitches, which earned him a jab from special pitching instructor Greg Maddux.
"Greg said I was going to throw a shutout with 260 pitches," Ross said.
The strange outing did nothing to clear up the mystery of the fifth-starter spot. Ross remains a candidate, and the three scoreless outings lowered his ERA to 3.07. But he still allowed four hits and three walks while striking out four and did not get through five innings. That was his target for the game.
"I'm happy I didn't give up any runs…but I didn't throw as many strikes as I wanted," Ross said. "I fell behind batters but at the same time I got ahead of hitters and started nit-picking. It was one of those days where I threw a lot of pitches."
The competition for the fifth-starter spot continues.
"He could have been a little more convenient with his pitches," manager Ron Washington said. "The first two innings he was, then he started to get the ball up. That's what caused his issues in the third inning. He got his pitch count up. He'll learn to be more efficient. I thought he had good live stuff. He just started elevating the ball."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.