Young arms showing way for Rangers

April 7th, 2021

The Rangers see promise in the newcomers who have debuted for their pitching staff.

Despite the early struggles for Texas' pitching, solid outings from , and have sparked optimism for what the staff could become.

Manager Chris Woodward said the young trio represent the direction he hopes to see the Rangers' pitching go, which is to have a staff that attacks the strike zone.

“Those three guys represent exactly that; that’s how they’ve always been,” Woodward said before Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays at Globe Life Field. “All three of those guys honestly have the similar makeup, and that’s how they pitch.”

Dunning had a solid season debut against Toronto in Tuesday's 7-4 win. He allowed just one run on three hits and no walks and struck out six in five innings.

Texas acquired Dunning last Dec. 8 in a trade that sent right-hander Lance Lynn to the White Sox.

Woodward said Dunning has impressed with his ability to attack the strike zone.

“That was what was most intriguing when we tried to get [Dunning] with the Lance Lynn trade,” Woodward said. “[Dunning’s ability] fit the model of what we want and what we’re trying to get the mentality for our entire pitching staff to be.”

Though Dunning was pulled after five innings and 70 pitches on Tuesday, Woodward said he might have the chance to pitch deeper into games.

“I think if that same situation comes ... two or three starts from now, I probably let [Dunning] go back out,” Woodward said.

In his MLB debut on Opening Day, de Geus allowed three runs in one inning against the Royals. But he has settled down in his past couple of appearances from the bullpen.

de Geus, who was taken from the Dodgers in the Rule 5 Draft last Dec. 10, has allowed just one hit in his past 3 2/3 innings. He kept the Blue Jays scoreless in 2 2/3 innings on Monday.

“[His outing] just shows that if you have quality stuff, you can pitch the strike zone and get people out,” Woodward said.

In his only appearance this season, Benjamin allowed no runs and one hit with three strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings in a 7-3 win over Kansas City on Sunday.

A fifth-round pick by the Rangers in the 2014 Draft, Benjamin made his debut last season and finished with a 4.84 ERA in 22 1/3 innings. Woodward said Benjamin's growth has been impressive.

“[Benjamin] kind of came up through the organization and proved a lot of people wrong and improved a lot over the last two or three years,” Woodward said.

Pitching coach Doug Mathis said building trust with the younger arms and coaching them to trust their talents will help their growth.

“That’s the biggest challenge for anybody, is [to] trust what you do and believe in what you do,” Mathis said. “I do think that it just takes some time for guys to really understand how good their stuff is and how good their stuff can be.”

Hope is that Holt injury not serious
Infielder exited Tuesday’s win over the Blue Jays with a sore right hamstring. The Rangers hope he'll be able to avoid the injured list. Holt is batting .250 with a .471 on-base percentage in four games.