ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 16: Justin Grimm #49 of the Texas Rangers delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 16, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
With Matt Harrison's pending back surgery and Colby Lewis still rehabbing his elbow surgery from last season, the Texas Rangers need all the good fortune they can get in terms of starting pitching.
And it looks like they might be getting it from rookie pitcher Justin Grimm, who was called up when Harrison went on the disabled list a couple of weeks ago. Getting a shot at a relatively long-term rotation spot, Grimm has come through for the most part, and he looked every bit the part in Sunday's 11-3 win over the Seattle Mariners to complete a four-game sweep.
Grimm pitched six innings, giving up two runs (one earned) with a career-high nine strikeouts and just one walk on 96 pitches. Granted, the performance came against the Mariners, who couldn't hit their way out of a paper sack right now, but Grimm faced some adversity and was able to get out of jams, showing some nice grit.
Earlier in the week, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels had said Grimm would make the start on Sunday and then his role with the club would be evaluated afterward. Now, you have to think the young righty has earned a spot in the rotation, at least for a little bit longer.
"I was just going out there and being aggressive. I wasn't worried about the runners in scoring position," Grimm told ESPN Dallas. "I was just trying to pitch a close game and attack hitters. My whole mindset was to keep it close and just keep executing pitches."
At times, even when he made a couple of starts last season, Grimm has shown he has a plus curveball with some serious 12-to-6 break, and he had it working on Sunday as six of his nine strikeouts came with what is proving to be his best pitch.
After being given a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth, Grimm stepped up in a big way after some initial trouble in the top of the fifth. Two straight hits cut the Rangers' lead to 3-2 before Grimm struck out the heart of the Mariners' order to end the inning, the threat and keep the Rangers in the lead before their offense went off.