The Texas Rangers have a treasure trove of young left-handers trying to break into the major leagues. They plan to start two more against the Los Angeles Angels in a doubleheader Tuesday at Arlington, Tex.
Kolby Allard made his fourth major-league start on Monday night and the rookie southpaw struggled through the first two innings before departing after five. The Rangers rallied from an early 7-1 deficit to send the game to extra innings and win 8-7 in the 11th.
Brock Burke is set to make his major-league debut in the opener of the doubleheader, a makeup game that was scheduled after their July 1 game was postponed following the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Joe Palumbo is scheduled to make the third start of his rookie season in the second game.
Burke looked strong during spring training, but a blister on his throwing hand and fatigue in his left shoulder kept him sidelined until June 17.
Burke, a Colorado native who turned 23 on Aug. 4, made nine starts for Double-A Frisco and two more for Triple-A Nashville before earning his shot with the Rangers.
Greg Hibbard, who was Burke's pitching coach when he was with Frisco, told the Canyon Courier of Evergreen, Colo. that Burke has what it takes to stick around at the major-league level.
"He's going to hit some bumps in the road," said Hibbard, who pitched for three different major-league teams from 1989-94. "He'll overcome those because he's got that mental toughness and the focus."
Palumbo made his major-league debut as the starter in the first game of a doubleheader on June 8 against the visiting A's, providing the Rangers four innings in the 10-5 win.
He made another start on June 19 against the Cleveland Indians and pitched three innings of scoreless relief in his most recent major-league appearance on July 7 against the Minnesota Twins.
Palumbo (0-1, 11.00 ERA) most recently threw six no-hit innings for Nashville on Thursday, earning Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week honors.
The Angels plan to start Jaime Barria (4-6, 6.62) in the opener on Tuesday and Andrew Heaney (2-3, 4.76) in the nightcap.
Heaney will try to win back-to-back starts for the first time since winning five consecutive from June 30-July 26, 2015, his first season with the Angels.
Heaney went seven innings on Thursday, allowing three runs and four hits in an 8-7 victory against the visiting Chicago White Sox.
It was a much more efficient performance than he delivered in his previous outing on Aug. 10 at Boston, his first appearance following a three-week stay on the injured list because of shoulder fatigue. Heaney lasted only 3 2/3 innings in an eventual 12-4 win by Los Angeles.
"You get ahead, work ahead, and at-bats aren't going to last nearly as long," Heaney told reporters after his last outing. "Establish (command) of your fastball, and get a little bit more swings on your off-speed."
The Rangers could be short a couple key players. Right fielder Nomar Mazara left Monday's game in the third inning with left oblique tightness, and third baseman Danny Santana departed after the fourth inning with left hamstring tightness.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward told reporters after the game that Santana insisted he could play Tuesday, but Mazara could be sidelined for an extended stretch.
--Field Level Media