After outdueling reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer in his most recent start last Saturday, left-hander Kolby Allard will take the mound on Saturday afternoon for the Texas Rangers when they host the Minnesota Twins.
Allard, 23, obtained by the Rangers in a July 2019 trade-deadline deal from the Atlanta Braves for reliever Chris Martin, is 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA and will face the Twins for the first time in his career.
Allard, taking over the starting spot of injured Kohei Arihara (shoulder), earned his first win as a starter this season Saturday in a 12-1 victory over Bauer and the defending World Series champion Dodgers in Los Angeles. He pitched five shutout innings while allowing five hits and a walk and struck out four.
“He was just fantastic,” Rangers catcher Jonah Heim said. “Five innings of shutout baseball against that team, you’ve gotta be doing something right. We were on the same page, we were clicking. He had every pitch working for him, so that makes my job easy to call whatever pitches to throw strikes.”
Allard, the 14th overall pick in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft, has a 2.57 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 14 innings in his past three starts.
He’ll try and help the Rangers, winners of just three of their past 20 games, try to bounce back from a frustrating 7-5 loss in 10 innings in Friday night’s series opener against the Twins.
Minnesota scored three times in the 10th, with Luis Arraez starting the inning with an RBI triple off the center-field fence off reliever Josh Sborz to drive in designated runner Willians Astudillo. The Twins added two runs on back-to-back, bases-loaded walks by Sborz and Demarcus Evans, runs that proved to be crucial after Joey Gallo drove in Nate Lowe with a one-out single in the bottom half of the inning.
Nick Solak followed Gallo’s hit with another single to put the tying run on base with one out. But Minnesota reliever Tyler Duffey got Willie Calhoun to fly out to center and ended the game by striking out Eli White.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward said he wasn’t as upset with Arraez’s triple to open the 10th as he was with the back-to-back walks later in the inning that turned out to be the difference.
“That was probably the most frustrating part of the game is that we gave them the game — literally, we handed them a win by walking those two guys,” Woodward said.
Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli, whose team lost their first eight extra-inning contests this season but have won their past three, gave kudos to Arraez, who came off the injured list Monday after missing over two weeks with a sore right shoulder.
“He drove that ball very well,” Baldelli said of the triple. “He can put a charge into the ball the other way. We’ve seen it from him at times, and he can do that. Good to have him back out there doing his thing.”
Twins right-hander Randy Dobnak (1-6, 8.38 ERA) will make his first career start against the Rangers. Dobnak, plagued by fingernail problems on his pitching hand, has allowed six or more runs in three of his past four starts.
–Field Level Media