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Mitch Moreland, 2014 Texas Rangers
Tuesday night's game against the Rockies just had the feel of a night that might see a Texas Rangers' position player pitch. In recent memory, we've seen the likes of David Murphy and Craig Gentry — both of whom are now elsewhere — take the mound for the Rangers in blowout losses to preserve the bullpen.
Tuesday's blowout loss was another perfect recipe to see the always unstable, yet really interesting position player pitching situation. On Tuesday night, it was Mitch Moreland's turn.
Moreland was actually an accomplished pitcher in college, serving as the closer in college for Mississippi State, a better than average college program. When Moreland took the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning with his team down 12-1, his job was to just throw strikes and try to get outs. No breaking balls, just fastballs, and on Moreland's own accord, one changeup.
But the Rockies probably didn't expect to see what they got from the Rangers' first baseman/designated hitter/outfielder. Instead of 88-89 mph fastballs, the Rangers lefty was sitting in the low 90s and hit 94 on the stadium radar once. He worked the only clean inning for Rangers pitching on the night, getting his third out on an inside heater to Charlie Blackmon that broke his bat for a weak grounder back to the mound.
It was actually quite impressive. Don't expect to see Moreland immediately moved to the struggling bullpen, even though he's having trouble at the moment getting consistent at-bats in the lineup. He's not a big-league pitcher for a reason. But he did show something on Tuesday.
Maybe, just maybe, there is a career for Moreland as a lefty reliever when his days as a hitter are over. On a horrible night to watch baseball, Moreland's scoreless, hitless inning was a bright spot and just fun to watch.