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)
Justin Grimm gave up three earned runs over six innings in his major-league debut last weekend against the Houston Astros. But everything else about the outing was more than impressive: seven strikeouts and no walks being the key stat, a great one for a nervous rookie starting in front of a sellout crowd.
But again, that was against the Houston Astros — one of the worst lineups in all of baseball. Tonight, Grimm makes his second career start against what could be one of the best lineups in baseball even if the Detroit Tigers, as a team, are surprisingly struggling so far this season.
The Tigers are loaded from top to bottom with guys like Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Alex Avila. In other words, there's plenty of guys that can hurt a starting pitcher, especially an inexperienced one like Grimm.
Grimm made his living last weekend by throwing strikes, and lots of them. He pounded the zone with his low-90s fastball and then kept hitters off-balance with a filthy 12-to-6 curveball that, as baseball folks like to say, "dropped off a table".
If he can command those two pitches once again against the Tigers, he'll be OK. But that's a lot to ask for a kid that has never played a game in Triple-A, and just one in the big leagues. It's bound to happen, Grimm is going to get shelled sooner or later, and tonight might be the night.
The Rangers are going to have to hang with Grimm, however, as it was announced that lefty Derek Holland will likely not come off the disabled list until after the all-star break, and he's ahead of the progress of fellow shelved starting pitcher Neftali Feliz.
Grimm gave us reason to be excited about his stuff last week, but just remember, Rangers fans, he is a rookie and he'll have his rookie moments.