Allard’s previous two outings were pretty good. He allowed two runs against the Brewers and three runs against the Blue Jays, picking up the win against Toronto. I like his attitude more than his stuff, but he seems to know how to pitch. I was looking forward to his start.
Things start out alright. Allard gets David Fletcher to ground out and holds Mike Trout to a single, which should probably count as an out in the score book. But then Shohei Ohtani reaches base via catcher interference and Trout is in scoring position. A Justin Upton double and a Kole Calhoun single bring in two runs, and suddenly Albert Pujols is up with two runners on and only one out. Not ideal.
And of course, Pujols parks a four-seam fastball into the left field seats. It’s 5-0, and the wheels are officially off. But then miraculously, Allard sandwiches a single between a pop out and a strike out to get out of the inning.
Allard walks Fletcher, but then gets a huge strikeout against WAR King Trout. I’m ready to pronounce Allard as officially good, but I’ll wait. And it’s a good thing I do, because Ohtani rifles a cutter into left center, scoring Fletcher. Ohtani comes home on a Upton single, and Allard has given up seven runs in less than two innings. Again–not ideal.
Allard is able to escape further damage, though, by getting Calhoun and Pujols each to line out. Despite a terrible start, he’s still battling.
With just eleven pitches, Allard has his first 1-2-3 inning. He seems to be settling down.
Allard has another three up, three down inning, which includes another strikeout of Trout. Now I’m ready to put him in the Hall of Fame.
Upton starts the inning off with a walk, and I wonder if the wheels are going to come off again. It wouldn’t be surprising for such a young pitcher to be up and down during his start. But Allard gets Calhoun to hit into a double play, and then gets Pujols to ground out to third to end the inning. Allard’s night is done. He’s thrown 103 pitches.
No, Allard’s first start in Arlington didn’t go very well. But the fact that he was able to battle through early struggles and give the Rangers five innings is an accomplishment in itself. Texas is starting a stretch of eight games in seven days, and having to use the bullpen for six or more innings would have been devastating. Whatever Allard’s skill level might be, the Texas Rangers at least have a guy who will fight through whatever the weird game of baseball will throw at him.