The news wasn’t good. A Grade 2 tear in the teres major muscle in the shoulder of his pitching arm.
It appears Corey Kluber’s stint with the Rangers might have lasted all of eighteen pitches.
Let’s relive his glorious Texas Rangers career.
He threw seven pitches to Rockies center fielder David Dahl, striking him out looking. He walked Colorado short stop Trevor Story on seven pitches. He threw two pitches to the Rockies DH Charlie Blackmon. Robinson Chirinos gunned down Story attempting to steal. He threw two more pitches to Blackmon, getting him to pop up to second.
And that was that. One inning. One walk. One strikeout. No runs.
The only good news here is that with the pro-rated salaries because of this shortened season, the Rangers didn’t have to pay a million dollars per pitch.
All of a sudden, though, this vaunted trifecta of aces is back down to the original two. Lance Lynn and Mike Minor. Two good ones, to be sure.
But now the Rangers are back to square one. Last year their starters had the third worst ERA in the American League. And that was in spite of having two guys who finished in the top ten in Cy Young voting.
The good news is, the other three in the rotation this season are better than what the Rangers ran out there last year. So, it shouldn’t be as brutal. Kyle Gibson will have some great games and some not so great games. He will tantalize and frustrate. He is the new Martin Perez. Jordan Lyles is the wild card. He was lights out after being traded to Milwaukee at the deadline, going 7-1 in eleven starts, with a 2.45 ERA. (His only Milwaukee loss, by the way, was a 1-0 decision to the Rangers.) Before that, though, he had been a mostly ineffective starter.
It appears the other head of this three-headed monster will be young left-hander Kolby Allard, who showed some real promising flashes of potential in his nine Rangers starts in 2019. It’s easy to see him work his way up to number-three starter status.
But without Kluber, or the hope of what Kluber could have done along with Lynn and Minor, that puts even more pressure on the offense to step up. This offense might not be up to that challenge. They’ve scored fewer than two runs per game so far.
Now the question is, will this be the last that Rangers fans see of Kluber in a Texas uniform? It’s doubtful he will get back onto the field season. He’s not even going to be evaluated again for at least four weeks. Rangers fans are painfully aware how injury math works. Four equals seven. Five equals twelve. Six equals forever.
Then, once the season ends, Jon Daniels has a costly decision to make. After seeing all of eighteen pitches from a two-time Cy Young winner who was already coming off an injury-shorted 2019, does he pick up the team option on Kluber? If so, that’s an investment of $18 million.
Of course, they could always let him walk as a free agent and then try to sign him for less. Who knows what the Corey Kluber market will be? Who knows if the Rangers are able to get an extension with Mike Minor?
Oh well. The dream rotation was fun while it lasted. Kluber looked great in a Rangers uniform. If you blinked, you missed it though.
Merrill Kelly (0-0, -.–) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-0, -.–)