Well, it couldn’t be Jacob deGrom tonight, as he had TJS. It couldn’t be Max Scherzer, even though it was his spot in the rotation, as his shoulder recently shredded. It couldn’t Andrew Heaney because he was moved to the bullpen and closed the game last night. It couldn’t be Martin Perez because he was moved to the bullpen and threw 40 pitches on Sunday. It couldn’t be Cole Winn, the team’s top pitching prospect from three years ago, because he’s now probably considering gigs in Korea. It couldn’t be Jack Leiter, the 2021 No. 2 overall pick who was the team’s top pitching prospect from two years ago, because he’s just getting back from not pitching to reinvent how he pitches. It couldn’t be Owen White, the team’s top pitching prospect coming into the season, because his stuff completely crater out of nowhere this year. It couldn’t be Cole Ragans either because he was unlocked by a different org after like a week from getting away from Texas.
So, with the division still dangling precipitously in the balance, the Rangers turned to rookie spot starter Cody Bradford, he of the career 4.53 FIP in 50 1⁄3 innings this season. He gave up six runs in four innings behind an unusually subpar defense and an offense that did nearly nothing to support him.
I don’t mean all of this to crap on Bradford, who I think has given the Rangers some useful innings and at least potentially has a big league future, but it says a lot both to how miraculous it is that the Rangers are in this position to be counting magic numbers for the division with all of the above and more facing them (this isn’t even covering the malodorous bullpen nor further looming injuries to Nathan Eovaldi or Jon Gray!) and also the dire state the organization remains in when it comes to this whole pitching thing to the point that Bradford was, essentially, the best and only choice.
The Angels developed tonight’s starter Reid Detmers, though he’s also gone through his own ups and downs. More ups when facing the Rangers recently, though. After no-hitting Texas into the 8th inning to kick off the eight game losing streak back in August, tonight Detmers was back to befuddle a suddenly home run or bust lineup once again with seven innings of easy one run ball.
It was a messy, bad game — so bad that most of the regulars were pulled early, including iron man Marcus Semien — and one that the Rangers would do well to immediately forget for their postseason hopes but one that they should maybe remember when working on unlocking the greatest mystery that has existed in sports through the 50 years that the team has existed: Fuckin’ pitching, how does it work?
Player of the Game: Hey, Josh Smith hit a homer!
Up Next: The Rangers will try to bounce back from this one with RHP Dane Dunning on the mound opposite RHP Griffin Canning for Anaheim.
First pitch in the rubber match on Wednesday night from Angel Stadium is scheduled for 8:38 pm CT and will be aired on BS Southwest.