Michael Kirkman has long been a disappointment in the Texas Rangers organization. After countless chances to make the big-league roster, he's failed time and time again including his most recent shot, which seemed to be a certainty, coming out of spring training when Robbie Ross snatched the job from his cold, dead hands.
Kirkman is now toiling in the Rangers' bullpen, seemingly just until some injured folks get back like Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara, but on Monday night he stepped up in a huge way for the Rangers in a game that was going to end poorly from the get-go.
After an awful start from Double-A pitcher Justin Grimm in which he failed to record an out in the second inning, the Rangers were forced to go to the bullpen for a long man, but it wasn't Scott Feldman that Ron Washington called upon, it was Kirkman, and Kirkman did the job.
The 25-year-old lefty came in and pitched five innings, allowing two runs with five strikeouts and two walks. He not only saved the arms of his bullpen mates but he also gave the Rangers a chance to hang around in a game that was 6-0 after the first inning. Of course, the Rangers' offense didn't comply, but he gave them the option.
He was followed up by Mark Lowe, who's actually been good in some high-leverage situations since Ogando and Uehara have been on the disabled list and will now be unavailable for a couple of days after going three scoreless innings to close out the game. Kirkman will be unavailable for at least three or four days.
"Kirkman and Lowe both did a great job," Michael Young told reporters after the game. "They saved our pen, saved a lot of arms out there. It’ll pay dividends the next couple of games that our bullpen is relatively fresh."