We could see this move coming. Well, sort of. Ross Detwiler has been struggling in the Texas Rangers rotation all season with his 6.95 ERA to go along with an 0.5 record, yet that’s not the reason Phil Klein will be starting Wednesday’s game. Unfortunately, Detwiler was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation following his last start, accord to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.
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While Klein has been with the Rangers a bit this season, he has yet to start a game. He does have two starts with Round Rock this season, totaling 8 1/3 innings and just three hits allowed. One of those hits was a solo home run, which also accounts for the only run Klein has allowed as a starter in Round Rock. Aside from his starts on May 6 and 11 of this year, his last time starting a game was back in 2013 with Frisco when he made two starts. And that is his professional total for games started–four.
His minor league walk totals this season are a bit concerning, as Klein has walked 11 batters in 16 innings, which could translate to a rough time against major-league batters on Wednesday. However, he does hold a 1.69 ERA with Round Rock, so what do I know?
With the Rangers this season Klein has totaled 4 2/3 innings in relief and holds a 7.71 ERA, having given up four earned in that span. That’s the bad news. The good news is that after his first outing against Oakland on April 6th, Klein pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits and one run and has only allowed one walk in the majors this season.
So what can we expect from Phil Klein against a potent Boston lineup today? Well, in his last start with Round Rock Klein threw 84 pitches (50 strikes), up from his total of 58 in his previous start. I’m guessing that his pitch limit will be between 95 and 100, similar to a regular starting pitcher. With that, I’m looking for him to go five innings of three run ball. The big question will be whether or not he will be able to locate his pitches.
In seven at bats versus lefties in the majors, the opposition is batting .429 with a home run and three rbi against him. Boston has one of the best lefties in the business in David Ortiz, so he’s a player that Klein may consider pitching around. By comparison, righties are 2-for-12 (.167) in the majors with minor leaguers batting just .087.
The Texas Rangers are throwing Phil Klein into the fire in Boston, but this start could really go either way. I’m cautiously optimistic.