Laid back.

Snoop Ogando has now won every game he’s started since signing @ Argenis Benitez in ’02.  Baseball loves Snoop Dog lookalikes.

– tweeted by Peter Gammons (@pgammo), a couple hours ago

Peter’s note is worth celebrating, because Alexi Ogando is making national (instead of international) news this morning, though it’s not entirely true.  Last year at this time, he was pitching in the United States for the first time in six years, and in his first three appearances for Frisco, all in April, he was asked to start.

He didn’t earn a victory in any of those three starts, because he never went the requisite five innings.  But it wasn’t because he was ineffective.  With a carefully monitored pitch count, facing 24-year-old hitters after years of being sentenced to competition against teenagers in the Dominican Republic, Ogando went 2.2 innings his first time out, then three innings, then four.  How’d that three-game stretch go?

In those 9.2 RoughRider innings, Ogando allowed two hits (.065 opponents’ average), walked two batters, and struck out 14 of the 33 Cardinals, Travelers, and Hooks he faced.  One run scored.

Just under 12 months later, one of the absolutely great scouting stories of the last decade made his first big league start, again scattering two hits (.100 opponents’ average) and walking two, and fanning four of the 22 Mariners who stepped in against him over six innings.  None scored.  Fastballs up, sliders down, an icy confidence that we’ve grown used to and probably should have expected, despite everything.

I hope Thad Levine, A.J. Preller, Mike Daly, and Charisse Espinosa took a moment to Skype up last night for a leaping hip bump.

Among the four dozen or so in-game tweets I posted (@NewbergReport) during Texas 3, Seattle 2:

  • (regarding M’s starter Michael Pineda) That 0-2 pitch to Hamilton was stupid filthy.  I like this kid.  In a couple years I’m going to really hate him.
  • Wow.  This COULD end up being a 9-7 game, but at the moment not hard to imagine a very big Sept 20, 2012 game pitting these 2 vs each other.
  • Love games where I can’t wait for the bottom of each inning…and the top.  This is fun.
  • I would very much like to see our beat guys write about the work our new C’s have done with the young starters.  #shouldn’tgounnoticed
  • Mitch, you made the right decision.  #wannahitorpitch?  #uptoyou
  • Just freaked out someone in the office cleaning crew with my standing ovation.  I have so loved this pitching performance.
  • See you tomorrow, Ichiro.  Just keep those batting gloves on.

But what the pitcher formerly known as quarantined, .259-hitting, rifle-armed A’s right field prospect Argenis Benitez did last night prompted a Snoop Dogg reference out of the great Peter Gammons this morning, and how much more needs to be said?

We’re hours from King Felix vs. C.J. Wilson, number one against number one, a matchup that’s going to have to give us something pretty special to deliver what Ogando-Pineda gave us last night.

One of the coolest things about Texas starting this season off 5-0, backed by an offensive barrage that every national writer has devoted space to, is that we’ve now gone a full turn through the starting rotation, one that features two guys at the top that were unknown quantities a year ago and three more who are basically question marks right now, but all of whom have done what was asked of them, and in a couple cases a good bit more.

The “worst starting rotation in the American League West” has this team three games up on the division, a meaningless number five games into the season (fo shizzle), but a whole lot better than sitting two games back, wondering how quickly the club can get its number six, seven, and eight starters ramped up on the farm while second-guessing the camp-ending decisions on who to give the ball to every fifth day.

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