Misplay stings Leiter.

Jack Leiter’s numbers might not look great in his major league debut, but he deserved better.

It started off well enough. He struck out the first batter he faced. And the third. He allowed two baserunners in the first but didn’t break, getting out of it without a run scoring.

The second inning was a different story. Staked to a 4-0 lead, he threw his fastball over the heart of the plate too often, and it got hit. For a single. For a double. For a triple. And for another single. 

When the onslaught was over, the score was tied 4-4. But when the Rangers scored two more in the top of the third, Leiter came back with the shutdown inning, one-two-three. It was a huge exhale. 

After the Rangers scored again in the top of the fourth to make it 7-4, Leiter retired the first two Tigers before the wheels fell off. He gave up a double and a walk. Then, he should have been out of the inning with the next hitter but Leody Taveras misplayed a long flyout into a heartbreaking triple, scoring two runs, and eventually a third run when that runner came in after a double, and Leiter left the game.

Instead of escaping the fourth with a 7-4 lead and possibly lasting through five innings for the win, Leiter was charged with all seven earned runs and a no-decision.

In the end, his linescore reads 3.2 innings pitched, eight hits, seven earned runs, three walks, three strikeouts, and a 17.18 ERA. Had Taveras made that catch, it would have been 9.00. Granted, a 9.00 ERA is nothing to write home about in the post-Jon Daniels world, but it’s nearly half what it ended up being, and what it should have been.

By first start comparisons, Cody Bradford gave up six earned in five innings. Max Scherzer gave up five earned runs in four innings. So, all in all, Leiter did okay. His baseball card looks brutal right now thanks to his center fielder. But the Rangers got the win. And Jack Leiter got his first breaths of big-league air.

Whether he gets a second chance remains to be seen.