One of the biggest bright spots for the Rangers this season has been starter A.J. Griffin. He’s been almost untouchable, and might not be slowing down anytime soon.
At the beginning of the 2017 season, the Texas Rangers had starter A.J. Griffin penciled in at the bottom of the rotation. He had an ERA over 5 in 2016, and the Rangers signed him to a small deal as an insurance pitcher.
Luckily for Texas that has worked out much better than expected this season. Through five starts, Griffin is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA and has allowed just eight earned runs in 29.1 innings of work. He gets the start on Sunday against his former team, the Oakland Athletics.
In 2010 the Athletics drafted Griffin, and he pitched the 2012 and ’13 season in Oakland. He finished his A’s career with a record of 21-11 posting a 3.60 ERA in 47 starts. After that he didn’t make another MLB appearance until 2016 with the Rangers.
It’s been a long road for Griffin, but he’s glad he stuck with it. His win streak might not end anytime soon as Griffin threw a four-hit shutout against the San Diego Padres in his last start. According to T.R. Sullivan, Griffin had this to say about what he’s doing on the mound this season.
"“I am just trying to pitch well every time out there,” said Griffin, who will be making just his second home start of the season Sunday after four straight on the road. “Just trying to help us win ballgames. I just try to stay within myself and execute pitches, have conviction in every pitch I throw and try to be on the same page with my catcher.”"
He’s a humble man who just wants to help the team win games. This ridiculous trend can’t last forever, but Griffin has surely been a huge boost for the Rangers. This season the offense is averaging 11.5 runs per nine innings of run support when Griffin is on the mound.
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Can’t blame a man for something he has no control over, but the run support has contributed to some of Griffin’s success. The biggest change for Griffin this season has been his ability to keep the ball in the park.
He’s allowed just four home runs in almost 30 innings of work this season. That’s not great, but if Griffin can keep down the home run total than he should continue to be dominant on the mound. Let’s see what happens on Sunday as the 29-year-old looks to keep the Rangers winning streak alive.