Texas Rangers

Hearn wasn’t good, the other Rangers weren’t much better, and it all was hard to watch

Hearn calls MLB debut with Rangers ‘nerve-wracking’

Left-hander Taylor Hearn struggled Thursday in his MLB debut with the Texas Rangers, failing to get out of the first inning in a 14-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
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Left-hander Taylor Hearn struggled Thursday in his MLB debut with the Texas Rangers, failing to get out of the first inning in a 14-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

On the bright side Thursday night, only one Texas Rangers player was injured. Injured physically, that is.

However, there is probably some emotional scarring that will need to be addressed.

But baseball doesn’t stop for hurt feelings. The next game presents a chance for redemption for position players, and though starting pitchers have to wait four games for their next crack at it, their work to get ready starts the next day.

That’s the beauty of the sport.

Unfortunately, baseball can be cruel, too.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from their fourth straight loss, this one 14-2.

1. It’s hard to not feel for Taylor Hearn. There’s no other way to put it.

He wasn’t remotely good in his MLB debut. There’s also no other way to put that.

The left-hander, the most advanced of the Rangers’ pitching prospects, threw 39 pitches, 21 of them balls, and retired only one of the eight batters he faced.

An error on first baseman Logan Forsythe didn’t help, and it made one of the five runs against Hearn unearned.

Hearn couldn’t throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, and when he sacrificed velocity to throw strikes with his fastball, the Mariners either fouled it off or put it in play.

Hearn admitted that he was nervous but said that he didn’t feel too amped up. He claimed that his stuff in the bullpen was spot on. But something happened, to the point where Mariners hitters read most pitches as balls out of the hand.

“I was trying to figure out what happened, because in the bullpen I pounded the zone with everything,” he said. “I go out there and I’m thinking, ‘What just happened?’ I lost my control. It’s part of the game honestly.”

After Hearn walked his fourth batter, he looked into the dugout as if he was expecting manager Chris Woodward to get him. That happened one batter later after No. 8 hitter Dylan Moore singled to left.

Hearn’s career ERA? 108.00.

But he rallied when talking to the media afterward. He even quoted Nelson Mandela.

“One of his quotes I live is, ‘You either win or you learn. You never lose,’” Hearn said. “That’s one thing I’m taking away from this outing, just sort of short-term memory and just get ready for the next one.”

Things didn’t improve for the Rangers’ pitchers, and the bullpen was so depleted that catcher Jeff Mathis had to pitch the eighth inning. It was his fourth career appearance, and, naturally, he tossed the first scoreless inning since the third.

It was that kind of day for the pitching staff, and a rough way for Hearn to begin his career.

“You don’t want to start your career that way, but it’s a good learning experience for him,” said shortstop Elvis Andrus, one of several veterans who took time to talk to Hearn. “I had a chance to talk to him and tried to encourage him to go do his homework and see what went wrong and get ready for next time.”

2. Judging solely by comments to my in-game tweets about the Hearn performance, the fans out there think that A) the Rangers were wrong to bring him up; B) trading Keone Kela for him was bad; and C) other forms of uninformed snark.

So, about par for the course as Twitter overreactions go.

Hearn would be the first to tell you that he was ready to pitch in the majors, that he wanted to pitch in the majors, that he wasn’t rushed to the majors, and that he is a much better pitcher than he showed.

For those looking to cast blame at the Rangers, feel free to point out how they have not addressed their lack of starting pitching depth. There are starting pitchers out there, serviceable ones not named Dallas Keuchel, and have been they learned Jason Hammel decided to retire late in spring training.

As far as the Kela trade, the Rangers did what they had to do. Hearn was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ No. 7 prospects, and the player to be named is the highly regarded Sherten Apostel, a Low A third baseman.

Besides, a rebuilding team doesn’t need a closer who would be paid $3.5 million for 2019, has a long injury history and also has a history of disruptive behavior.

In other words, bad-mouthing the trade is a pretty silly conclusion to draw after the Hearn debut.

Rangers Reaction won’t attempt to control the snark. There’s no stopping that.

3. The good news is that Brett Martin pitched well for three innings before running out of gas in the fourth and allowing two runs. His reward could be a trip back to Triple A Nashville.

That’s always a risk for a reliever who has minor-league options remaining, and the Rangers potentially have a number of roster moves to make for Friday. He also threw three innings, which means he won’t be available again until Sunday at the earliest.

The Rangers were looking into adding at least one reliever to fortify a bullpen that has been overworked the past three games.

Second baseman Rougned Odor is ready to rejoin the Rangers after two rehab games with Nashville (he homered and doubled Thursday) and could be reinstated from the 10-day injured list Friday.

And then there’s this development: Asdrubal Cabrera was forced to leave the game in the third inning with tightness in his left calf, and it wasn’t a precautionary thing. The Rangers could place him on the IL to create one roster spot.

Because of an IL move, Wei-Chieh Huang could be recalled despite being optioned Wednesday. The Rangers could create a spot for Odor by optioning Hearn and giving Adrian Sampson or Kyle Dowdy the start Tuesday.

With Shelby Miller starting Friday, though, Sampson’s length might be needed out of the bullpen.

Have fun with all that, front office.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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