Today saw the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics quite handedly almost certainly because it wasn’t the first game of this series. If you want to get technical about it, this was actually the middle game of a series from mid-April that was being made up today as the first game of a doubleheader.
Because Texas is in the middle of a stretch of 21 games in 20 days, they couldn’t get cute with the rotation so they called up one of their top pitching prospects from Frisco in lefty Joe Palumbo to make his MLB debut.
Overall, it was a successful day for Palumbo who was likely on something of a short leash to begin with and was able to make it through four innings on 66 pitches. The first three innings were much better than the last one as Palumbo was cruising along through three having struck out four A’s hitters while working around a couple of doubles.
In the fourth, however, the right-handed heavy A’s lineup finally got to Palumbo who began to lose a little bit of the command he had been sporting in the earlier innings. Ironically, the first runs Palumbo allowed in his career came off a two-run home run by Matt Olson who was the only left-handed batter in the entire Oakland lineup.
Before Palumbo finished the fourth, the A’s had scored four runs to turn a 5-0 game into a close 5-4 score. Palumbo ended up being done after the frame and finished with a line of 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 4 Ks. Palumbo threw 43 of his 66 pitches for strikes and never shied away from the strike zone as evident by not allowing a walk in his debut.
Palumbo will likely now go back down — possibly to Nashville — to continue working on getting deeper in games so he can come back up to Arlington, join the rotation, and never leave again.
Palumbo didn’t stay in the game long enough to qualify for the win, but after he left, the Rangers scored five more runs and never trailed. Overall, it felt just a little bit like seeing a glimpse of the future.
Reliever Phillips Valdez was also able to make it into the game for the final two innings to make his own MLB debut as the 26th man for the Rangers today. Valdez tossed a spotless eighth and worked around a single and a couple of walks in the ninth to go in the books as a big leaguer.
Congrats to both Palumbo and Valdez and the lineup for giving ‘em 10 runs to work with in game one. Now, onto celebrating Adrian Beltre!
Player of the Game: Tim Federowicz made his first start for the Rangers after coming over in a trade with Cleveland yesterday even though Palumbo was making his debut and the Rangers signed Jeff Mathis for exactly moments such as this.
But whatever, Federowicz went 2-for-3 with a walk and a three-run dong to essentially overtake Mathis’ entire output with the bat this season in one afternoon.
Up Next: In a few hours the Rangers and A’s will play a whole new baseball game following the number retirement ceremony for Beltre. Adrian Sampson will make the start for Texas against RHP Chris Bassitt for Oakland. Game two’s first pitch is tentatively scheduled for 8:05 pm CT.