Kolby Allard's Two Starts Have Helped Stabilize the Rangers' Rotation
ARLINGTON, Texas — When Corey Kluber went down for multiple weeks with a Grade 2 strain in his shoulder, it came as a massive blow to a starting rotation that was set to be the strength and backbone of the 2020 Texas Rangers.
To make matters worse, the Rangers' offense has remained stagnant for the most part, and the bullpen had a horrid road trip to the Bay Area, losing five of six games.
Texas turned to their young southpaw Kolby Allard to fill the void left by a two-time Cy Young winner in Kluber. Allard hasn't recorded a win in either start, but he's given the Rangers nine strong innings with only one earned run.
In particular, Allard was very solid in Saturday night's 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels, giving the Rangers five shutout innings.
"When Kluber went down we felt pretty confident and comfortable with Joe (Palumbo) and Allard, that whoever stepped in that role would be able to do well for us," Woodward said. "So Kolby has done what we expected, honestly. Attack the strike zone, use all his pitches, and when he has that curveball and that changeup at times, it just changes what the hitters are looking for. ...He's got that attack mentality and he's been awesome for us."
The Rangers' offense is still waiting to break out. The bullpen is trending upwards after back-to-back shutout performances. But the Rangers need their starting pitchers to perform. The 2020 roster was constructed for the rotation to be the strength of the team. Even in case of injury, the Rangers were going to rely on their younger arms to fill in.
With Brock Burke out for the year and Joe Palumbo dealing with an ulcerative colitis flare up, Allard is the one to step in and fill some rather large shoes. He's found a level of consistency in his first two starts. He believes he has the recipe to carry on that success as the season rolls along.
"I just think I have to repeat pitches," Allard said. "I don't think you've gotta go out there and try to be a hero. Sometimes I can get in trouble trying to make a pitch too good or try to do too much. I'm going to continue to go out there and continue to execute pitches."
Rangers' Opening Day starter Lance Lynn looks like a Cy Young contender. Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles have been pretty decent. Mike Minor has dealt with some arm fatigue that's limited his ability to pitch deep into ball games.
Under normal circumstances, having a veteran like Kluber fill that fifth spot would be exactly what could help stabilize a starting rotation. Allard's relentless attack of the strike zone and ability to execute pitches has helped do that so far. Any continuation of what we've seen from Allard so far will be a wonderful development for the intended strength of the 2020 roster.