Of the five pitchers the Texas Rangers used Tuesday night in their 12-1 blowout loss against the Colorado Rockies, only one didn't give up a hit or run. That was Mitch Moreland — yes, Mitch Moreland, their frequent DH.
Moreland hit 94 mph on the radar gun, setting down the Rockies in order in the eighth inning, the only inning in the entire game in which they went down 1-2-3. Here's what he had to say after the game, via MLB.com:
"I pitched in the past, and I didn't want to go up there and get hit," Moreland said. "I wasn't really going to take it easy."
Moreland was a closer at Mississippi State. His only other professional pitching experience was two scoreless innings in two games in 2008 at low Class A Clinton, and Moreland recalled them as "mop-up innings."
After that season, the Rangers sent Moreland to instructional league to "kind of test the waters again" as far as pitching. But from then on, he concentrated on hitting, albeit with the hope of some day getting an opportunity to pitch in the Major Leagues if a position player should be needed in a blowout.
"It's always been a dream of mine," Moreland said. "I've begged skip for years in situations like that."
Here's a thought: Maybe the Rangers should use Moreland more often, maybe he shouldn't have to beg. He's a lefty who threw between 90 and 94 mph in his first outing in five years, that's something. Lefty relievers who can throw 94 get jobs on MLB teams.
And let's be honest, it's not like the Rangers are particularly stout with pitching these days. Their team ERA of 4.59 is third worst in the league, behind the Astros and Diamondbacks. The Rangers have three relief pitchers who have ERAs above 4.00 after pitching at least 12 innings this season. That's not particularly good.
Look at Moreland, what's his role anyway? When the Rangers traded for Prince Fielder, that ended Moreland's tenure at first base. He's logged most of his time this season as the DH — hitting .284 with 11 RBIs in 74 at-bats, but clearly there's some room to get creative.
This is a team that turned R.A. Dickey into a knuckleballer and turned a reliever into their opening day starter. Heck, the Rangers might as well turn Mitch Moreland into a designated hitter/pitcher.
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