It’s not about the Rangers losing four in a row just like it’s never been about how the Rangers finish this season.
It’s about guys like Phillips Valdez.
He may end up being no more than a footnote for 2019. But he finally got the chance to pitch in the major leagues, and he is making the most of it.
Valdez was drafted by the Indians back in 2009 and has been toiling away in the minors ever since. He played two years in Cleveland’s system, then was traded to Washington, where he spent the next eight years buried in the Nationals’ system.
He has bounced all over, pitched in the most remote, far-from-the-limelight places—the Dominican Summer League, the Gulf Coast League, the South Atlantic League, the New York-Penn League, the Carolina League, back to the South Atlantic League—never making it above A-Level ball for his first seven years. The next three seasons he bounced around from Double-A to Triple-A.
In fact, he was released back in 2011 and nobody signed him. That’s how unlikely of a journey Valdez has been on.
But if your arm is still attached to your shoulder, you will receive a contract from the Rangers. Valdez was signed as a free agent before the 2019 season and assigned to Nashville.
He came up a few weeks ago and played the second game of the Sunday double header against the Athletics. He pitched two scoreless innings. He came back up yesterday and got into the game last night.
He came into the game in the seventh, with his team down 6-2. Then he went single, double play, single, strike out. Then double, fly out, strikeout, ground out. Then strikeout, ground out, and single.
Two and two-thirds innings, no runs, three Ks. Add the two scoreless innings he pitched against Oakland, and Valdez has yet to be scored on as a major leaguer.
It took him eleven years and 247 minor league games to get here. So far, he has made the most of it.
In the end, the Rangers lost the game. But this was supposed to be a lost season anyway so that doesn’t matter.
It’s about guys like Valdez, a career minor leaguer who finally got a chance to fulfill his dream.
This is something he will remember forever.
Griffin Canning (3-4, 3.79) vs. Lance Lynn (10-4, 4.00)
Game time: 7:05