Justin Grimm says he'll learn from loss
June, 25, 2012
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It didn't take long for Texas Rangers starter Justin Grimm to discover the Detroit Tigers are not the Houston Astros. And he didn't see those Tigers for very long, either.
Grimm gave up eight hits and one walk to the 12 batters he faced, exiting just two batters into the second inning with the Rangers down 5-0. Texas ended up losing 8-2 as the bullpen had to shoulder most of the load.
Nine days after facing the heart of the Astros lineup that included Jed Lowrie, Brett Wallace and Chris Johnson, Grimm had to deal with Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young, the Nos. 3-5 batters for the Tigers.
In other words: Welcome to the American League, Justin.
"I wasn't executing my pitches," Grimm said. "My breaking ball wasn't good. I was getting around it. It's a humbling game. What can you do? You just bounce back for the next one."
Things started poorly and never did get better for the 23-year-old Grimm. After going six innings and giving up three runs on six hits against the Astros in his debut, Grimm allowed five runs on seven hits before the first inning was over. The 23-year-old threw 40 pitches in the 100-degree heat, and before getting his 10th and final batter of the frame -- Denton's Austin Jackson -- to fly out, the man he replaced in the rotation was busy warming in the bullpen. Scott Feldman, who went back his long relief role with Roy Oswalt joining the rotation and Grimm staying in it, got ready quickly, but wasn't needed in the first. The Rangers ended up saving him to use later this week. Once Grimm couldn't get the first two batters of the second, Michael Kirkman, who warmed up even before the inning began, came in the game. Grimm's final line: one inning (plus two batters), six runs allowed on eight hits with a walk and no strikeouts.
"I didn't have damage control tonight," Grimm said. "Five runs in the first means you don't give your team a very good chance to win when that happens. I'll put this one on my shoulders and try to bounce back Saturday."
Grimm's fastball velocity was down a bit from his last start and the curve ball, which helped him get seven strikeouts against the Astros, stayed up in the zone more than he wanted against the Tigers. Jhonny Peralta even hit the pitch for an RBI double in the first. It didn't help Grimm that a bunt by Quintin Berry in the second at-bat of the game caused some confusion among the Rangers' infielders and no one covered first base, helping the Tigers get the offensive spark going.
"It was a miscommunication," first baseman Michael Young said.
Grimm walked his first batter in the majors to start the second and when Cabrera singled the other way, manager Ron Washington wasn't going to let his rookie pitcher face Fielder again with two runners on.
"That's a pretty good hitting team, and when he threw the ball out over the plate they didn't miss it," Washington said. "Rough night for him. He didn't get out of the second."
While the Rangers were curious to see how Grimm would respond to a big crowd in his big league debut (just fine) and what he'd do against a powerful lineup like the Tigers (struggled), they'll watch closely to see what he does in his next start, whether that's in a Rangers uniform or in the minors. Washington said the plan right now is that Grimm will start Saturday, though he added nothing was definite. Grimm resolved to do better, no matter where he pitches.
"I just got to get the ball down, throw the breaking ball the way you know how to throw it and not baby it," Grimm said. "I have to throw my changeup a little bit more. I'll go to work in bullpen sessions."
Grimm faced the media and sounded like a pitcher intent on improving. His teammates certainly aren't worried about him.
"He’ll be fine," Young said. "He’ll learn from it. He's a young kid going against a very good lineup. He’ll be better off because of it, and he’ll learn from it."