ARLINGTON, Texas -- Newest bullpen pitcher Stolmy Pimentel was immediately thrown in the deep end during his Texas Rangers’ debut, a 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday at Globe Life Park. And he did not sink.
The right-hander, acquired on a waiver claim from Pittsburgh on Saturday, was summoned from the bullpen with two Angels on base and 2014 American League MVP Mike Trout striding to the plate with Albert Pujols on deck.
“I know they are really good hitters,’’ said Pimentel afterward. “I just had to do what I do best. I was going with my fastball and slider, too.’’
Pimentel induced Trout to tap weakly between the mound and the third base line. However, the speedy Trout was able to narrowly beat Pimentel’s throw for an infield hit to load the bases for Pujols. The Angels’ big first baseman grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.
After two more scoreless frames, Pimentel went out to start the ninth against Trout and Pujols. This time both reached base, ending Pimentel’s night. In 2.1 innings, Pimentel allowed three hits, one walk and struck out two. Of the 39 pitches he threw, 26 were strikes.
The fact that he was eventually charged with the insurance run the Angels scored in the ninth did not diminish his effort in the eyes of Jeff Banister. The Rangers manager praised him for giving the bullpen a lift on the day after using seven pitchers in a 14-inning loss to Houston.
Whatever role the Rangers have in mind suits Pimentel.
“For now I’m in the bullpen and that’s great," he said. "Wherever they need me, that’s what I’ll do.’’
With Banister’s Pittsburgh background, Pimentel feels right at home with his new manager.
“He knows me. He can help me out. I wasn’t surprised that somebody got me. But you never know whether the situation is going to be better.’’
Offense flames out: Banister wants the Rangers to be a team that makes a pitcher work on the mound. Soft outs early in the count do not go over well with the skipper.
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker and the three relievers that followed him did require 146 pitches in Monday's win, but by consistently staying ahead in the count Rangers hitters were not able to get more than one runner on base after the first inning.
Texas was blanked in the final eight frames on three hits. Rangers hitters collected one walk contrasted to 11 strikeouts.
“We’ll get it down there where it needs to be,’’ said Banister.
Costly walks: Rangers starting pitcher Ross Detwiler began the first inning with control of his pitches. But from that point on, hitting spots became problematic.
“I think I made some good adjustments from my last start,’’ the left-hander said. “I had command in the first inning, but when I went out in the second I couldn’t find it again.’’
Walks preceded a pair of two-run home runs in the Angels' four-run fifth, the game’s decisive inning.
Banister and Detwiler agreed they saw too many fly balls off Angel bats. “I can’t remember a ground ball today,’’ Detwiler said.
Notes: Rangers reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is scheduled to make a rehab start for Double-A Frisco on Tuesday morning. The right-hander is on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday.