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Nick Tepesch Came Along at the Right Time

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You don't see a lot of big league debuts like the one Nick Tepesch turned in for the Rangers on Tuesday night. 

By going 7.1 innings and allowing just one run, Tepesch put himself on a list of some of the more impressive debuts in team history. He's the first Ranger to pitch at least seven innings in his first big league start since 2000 and the first since 1994 to record at least one out in the eighth inning. 

It's not just Rangers history, either. No debuting pitcher has allowed a run or less while going that deep into a game since 2008 and no pitcher has made such a successful debut this early in a season since 1970. 

Not too shabby for a guy who wasn't on many radars before the start of camp and not too shabby for a team that suddenly finds itself in need of a starting pitcher. 

Matt Harrison's back injury isn't thought to be terribly serious, but it doesn't really need to be to cause the Rangers serious troubles. Justin Grimm has looked overmatched every time he's faced a big league hitter and there aren't any clear choices to use in place of him if Harrison's absence does linger beyond a couple of weeks. 

If Tepesch is giving the Rangers anything close to what he gave them in his debut, there's not much problem. Four starters is enough to get through a rough patch, even if the fifth spot is a weekly drubbing of Grimm. 

Here's the rub, though. All those impressive "first since" entries on Tepesch's ledger share one thing in common, namely that the guys who previously put up those impressive debuts went on to unimpressive careers. 

Names like Brian Sikorski, John Dettmer, Scott Lewis and Wayne Simpson are unfamiliar to all but the most die-hard of fans, but they all dazzled the first time they took the mound in the major leagues. Tepesch matched their performances, so now the Rangers have to hope that the similarities end there and that Tuesday night's start was a premonition rather than an unrealistic hope for the future. 

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