NEW YORK -- Pitching coach Doug Brocail had some words of encouragement for Rangers starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx before his start on Saturday against the Yankees."Don't worry, you're going to have a good day," Brocail told him before the Rangers' 8-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.The words stuck with Bibens-Dirkx through seven
NEW YORK -- Pitching coach Doug Brocail had some words of encouragement for Rangers starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx before his start on Saturday against the Yankees.
"Don't worry, you're going to have a good day," Brocail told him before the Rangers' 8-1 victory at Yankee Stadium.
The words stuck with Bibens-Dirkx through seven strong innings against another first-place team.
"To have that confidence in a 32-year-old rookie, that sticks in your heart and your mind that, 'Yeah, you can do this,'" Bibens-Dirkx said. "Every outing that I have been successful raises the confidence that I can do this."
There is a reason the "Magical Mystery Tour" continues. Yes, Bibens-Dirkx did spend 12 years pitching in the Minors, independent and winter leagues before being called up to the big leagues. Yes, he has pitched in the Golden Baseball League and the Atlantic League -- and in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
But as manager Jeff Banister pointed out, Bibens-Dirkx picked up a few things along the way. One is a profound understanding of how to pitch.
"[He has] the ability to draw on 12 years of experience," Banister said. "This guy has pitched very well. We talk about the efficiency of pitches, throwing strikes, moving the ball all around, executing pitches. It's all about pitching."
Bibens-Dirkx recorded 21 outs in holding the Yankees to one run in seven innings. He recorded 10 on fastballs and the other 11 on a combination of his offspeed pitches. He had 14 swings-and-misses on fastballs -- the most in any outing. His exit velocity on balls hit by the Yankees was 83.6 miles per hour, his second lowest of any outing, according to Statcast™.
In short, he gave the Yankees fits -- just as he did two weeks ago in a similar outing against the Nationals in D.C.
"It just seemed like he stayed off the barrel of the bat -- with some sliders, changeups and cutters," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We weren't able to really square him up today."
He wasn't fazed by Yankee Stadium, just as he didn't let it bother him to pitch in Fenway Park or against Max Scherzer in Washington. He is 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA in two starts and three relief appearances on the road this season.
Apparently, when you have spent seven winters in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic ...
"I've been around for awhile ... I have seen different countries," Bibens-Dirkx said. "I pitched a lot in Venezuela in the winter leagues, facing guys that can really hit. That teaches you how to pitch. The surreal thing is they told me, 'Don't change anything. Do what you do best.' That's one of the things I took to heart, and it's working."
There are reasons why Bibens-Dirkx has been a great story for the Rangers. All of this didn't happen by accident.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.