May 30, 2015.
That was the last time a Rangers rookie pitcher pitcher picked up a win in his first major league start.
You may recall him. Chi Chi Gonzalez. That night he went 5.2 scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox. His first five innings he was tossing a no-hitter. David Ortiz led off the sixth with a double for the Red Sox first hit. He didn’t score.
In the end, Gonzalez allowed five walks, only two hits, and struck out two. When he walked off the field the Rangers were up 6-0 in a game they eventually won 8-0.
Gonzalez followed up that game with a complete game shutout against the Royals. He thudded back to Earth after that, losing his next five decisions. Now he’s a mop up man in the Rockies bullpen.
Fast forward to last night. Six years later, a Rangers rookie starting pitcher picked up a win. A.J. Alexi wasn’t sharp. He pitched deep into counts. But he got out of them.
When he walked off the field, he had a 4-0 lead. Like rookie Glenn Otto had a few games ago, who had to sit there and watch the Rangers bullpen cough up his win. Alexi almost saw the same thing happen. Colorado got three runs off Texas’s bullpen.
But, in the end, Joe Barlow locked down the save. And Alexi got a rare Rangers rookie debut win.
You may recall the Ranger who Alexi was traded for. Yu Darvish.
Texas hasn’t gotten much out of Willie Calhoun, the other player who came over from Darvish. But they get a win out of Alexi.
It wasn’t pretty. But it worked.