When the Texas Rangers traded veteran face-of-the-franchise Michael Young to Philadelphia in the off-season, they didn't do it with the thought that the return for Young would have an impact on their season relatively early, and potentially often.
But Josh Lindblom has done just that. After a few seasons with the Phillies exclusively as a relief pitcher, he made his first big-league start last month against the Oakland A's and failed miserably in place of injured pitcher Alexi Ogando. He was promptly sent back down to Triple-A Round Rock that night and replaced by prospect Martin Perez in Ogando's next rotation turn. Perez didn't fare much better.
After his start on Monday, in which Lindblom pitched around a three-run double early in the game, he ended up pitching six innings and giving up just the three runs, technically qualifying as a quality start, even though Robbie Ross picked up the victory after Lindblom left the game with a 3-3 tie.
Now, Lindblom has earned another start as he'll make Ogando's next scheduled start on Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays. A lot of Lindblom's success came from his newly found off-speed pitches, a sinker and a curveball with some massive drop that TV analyst Steve Busby compared to Colby Lewis'.
"Early in the year, I didn’t really have much feel for it,” Lindblom told The Dallas Morning News of his off-speed pitches. “It’s only in the last two or three starts I’ve been able to find it. I didn’t feel like I had a great fastball early in the game, so I was able to compete with that until the fastball came around.”