ARLINGTON -- The D-backs and Rangers came into this Interleague series each in need of a win.
Both teams are on the fringe for Wild Card berths, and the first 10 days to two weeks post-All-Star Game will go a long way to determining what these teams will do at the July 31 Trade Deadline. Tuesday night it was the D-backs who made headway, getting a strong outing from 25-year-old southpaw Alex Young to take a 9-2 win over Texas on a hot and humid night.
Young played collegiately at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and the rookie was making his first professional appearance at Globe Life Park. He pitched into the sixth inning and held the Rangers to just one run on three hits and one walk with four strikeouts.
Young improves to 3-0 in four appearances for Arizona. His ERA dropped to 0.96 after Tuesday’s performance. He has allowed only six total hits through his three starts and four outings.
“He pounds the strike zone,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “[He uses] a cutter/curve ball combination, a four-seam when he needs it. In front of his hometown. In front of his family. It has to be a special night for him.”
Young pitched at Globe Life Park once during his freshman year at TCU. His return as a Major Leaguer “was awesome,” he said. “Obviously, this environment is a little bit different, but it’s still sweet to pitch here, especially in the last year of the stadium. That’s really cool.”
As far as his performance on Tuesday, he said, “It was good. There were times when I was behind in the count, but I was able to execute pitches when I had to.”
Rangers starter Lance Lynn came into the game averaging 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings, but Arizona struck out just six times. Five of the eight hits the D-backs mustered off of Lynn had an exit velocity of less than 80 mph.
That allowed the offense to back up Young’s strong start with nine runs, equaling the total it scored against St. Louis in last weekend’s three-game series.
The Arizona players know what’s on the line. They know what the standings look like. They aren’t going to catch the Dodgers in the National League West standings, but they moved closer to the Wild Card slot by picking up a game on St. Louis**.** Archie Bradley said Tuesday, “We’ve got to play well. Right now is a critical time for us to win.”
The D-backs will have another chance to do so on Wednesday.