As part of the SB Nation MLB awards, the Lone Star Ball community is voting on the best Rangers pitching appearance of 2014.
You might think that a team that had Nate Adcock and Ryan Feierabend appear multiple times in a season couldn't have possibly seen many awesome pitching performances. But the Rangers had their fair share of gems in 2014, even if they also had three separate occasions where position players were forced into mound duty. So, what was your favorite pitching appearance in 2014?
Let's get to the nominees!
Martin Perez Bests Sonny Gray, Tosses Second Straight CGSO
Of all the ghastly things that happened in 2014 for the Rangers, perhaps none hurt as much as when Martin Perez succumbed to injury and needed Tommy John surgery. That's mostly because, before he went down, he was pitching great and was looking like a guy fulfilling all those top prospect list promises. 'Teen's peak 2014 moment came on April 23 when he pitched his second consecutive complete game shutout. This second one came in Oakland, as he out-dueled Sonny Gray, and the Rangers swept the A's to move into first place in the AL West.
Mitch Moreland Throws Gas, Pitches 1-2-3 Inning
It's always a head-craning car wreck when a position player comes in to mop up a lost cause baseball game. It's a novelty that can make any baseball fan stop what they're doing and watch a game even if the score is 12-1. It's usually the ultimate white flag. And for the Rangers, it was one they had to use three times in 2014. Most of the time, the player trying to pitch lobs it up there at 70 MPH just trying to get it over the plate and hoping the hitter hits it at someone. Not Mitch Moreland. The former college closer pitched a scoreless inning while pumping 94 MPH heat. There's talk of Moreland playing in the outfield next season but maybe his real long term role should be out of the 'pen. I'm only half kidding.
Yu Darvish is a Big Papi Away From No-Hitter
As the saying goes, when guys with stuff like Yu Darvish take the mound, they have a chance to be special every time out. On this night, Darvish was special. In fact, for the second straight year, he had Perfect Game stuff. Perfect through 6 2/3 innings, Alex Rios and Roogie Odor bungled a David Ortiz popup to shallow right field to end the perfecto. The play was controversially ruled an error so Darvish held onto the no-hitter until Papi came up with two out in the 9th. Like the Perfect Game that wasn't in Houston in 2013, a single up the middle -- again by Ortiz -- ended Darvish's bid at history. Darvish's final line: 8 2/3 innings, 12 Ks, 2 BBs, 2 hits. Why 2 hits? Because Ortiz is a giant whiny man-baby.
Yu Darvish Finally Finishes What He Started
You may have noticed that Darvish didn't complete his near no-hitter. Every year, the local media hacks harp on some aspect of Darvish's game whenever he isn't perfect. This year's unfair bugaboo was about how Darvish had never had a complete game. Well here you go, jerks. Here's your complete game. It was a 10 strikeout shutout victory over the Giancarlo Stanton-led Marlins to boot.
Colby Lewis Parties Like it's 2010
While the Rangers were scoring a season high 16 runs against the Chicago White Sox, Colby Lewis was pitching his first complete game shutout in three years. Colby finished with seven strikeouts while allowing only six hits. And while he had his ups and downs in his first full season coming back from pioneering hip resurfacing surgery, on this night, he was masterful.
Derek Holland Shows Us What We Were Missing
This wasn't a near no-hitter or complete game shutout, but it was Derek Holland's best outing of the five starts he made in 2014 after finally returning from the injury that basically doomed the season before it even began. In those five starts, Dutch looked fantastic while allowing two or fewer runs each time. After waiting all year for his return, Holland delivered and gave us hope heading into the 2015 season.