Texas Rangers: A Running Diary of Three Important Prospect Outings
By Ben Zajdel
This will be Burke’s big league debut. It’s not surprising that he’s pitching in Arlington, because he has great stuff, but he’s had a tough year. He was sidelined by blister problems and shoulder fatigue early in the season. A perfect five innings on July 20th, however, proved he had put all the injuries behind him. And now he’s arrived.
Burke gets Fletcher, Trout and Ohtani to each ground out, all on different pitches. It only takes 13 pitches. It’s a much better way to start the game.
Pujols reaches on a single, but goes nowhere, as Burke strikes out two and gets Luis Rengifo to line out. Burke is rolling.
Burke fields a grounder himself and then walks Max Stassi. He gets another line out and then has to face Trout. It’s a little tense, because it Trout is always on the verge of going supernova, but Burke stays steady and strikes out probably the best hitter in MLB. Burke throws 22 pitches in the inning, the toughest frame he’s had so far.
Ohtani leads off the inning and battles, eventually earning a single on the seventh pitch of his at-bat. But Burke bounces back and gets Upton to hit into a double play. Then Pujols doubles to left, the first batter Burke has allowed to advance to second base. Again, the young pitcher works around a base runner, striking out Goodwin to end the inning.
Burke gets his second 1-2-3 inning, this time on just seven pitches. SEVEN PITCHES. He’s rolling.
This will be Burke’s third time through the lineup, and I’m concerned. He’s been great, but hitters typically start getting to pitchers on that third trip through the order. Burke gets Fletcher to ground out, and then Trout flies out to left. Maybe I was wrong to worry.
Then Ohtani singles, and Upton walks, and suddenly the tying run is on base. I’m concerned. But Brocke Burke doesn’t share my concern, and gets Pujols to fly out to end the inning.
Burke’s day is done, and he’s pitched six scoreless innings in his major league debut. You can’t ask for more from a young pitcher, and I think it’s safe to say we’ll see a lot more of Burke in Arlington this season.