Tigers, Rangers turn to rookie hurlers in series finale

Field Level Media
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Jun 13, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cody Bradford (61) throws during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Field.
Jun 13, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cody Bradford (61) throws during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Field.
Image: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of rookies are expected to close out a four-game series between the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers on Thursday afternoon in Arlington, Texas

The Rangers announced late Wednesday that left-hander Cody Bradford (0-1, 5.40 ERA) is the team's probable pitcher


The Tigers are expected to send right-hander Reese Olson (1-2, 4.74 ERA) to the mound. Olson has never faced the Rangers, while Bradford retired the only two batters he faced when Detroit beat Texas 7-2 on Monday

Bradford's first three major league appearances came as a spot starter. In his latest start, vs. the Los Angeles Angels on June 13, Bradford allowed one run on two hits with one walk and three strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. He went five innings in each of his first two starts.


That's probably all the Rangers are hoping to get out of Bradford. After all, the bullpen is in good shape after Dane Dunning tossed 8 2/3 innings in a 10-strikeout performance on Wednesday. Dunning's showing generated plenty of buzz after the Rangers' 10-2 win

"He had a good four-pitch mix. In command the whole way," Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's hard to pitch better than that."

Bradford would likely be happy if he resembled that in any fashion. Either way, Bradford taking the ball allows the Rangers to push back Jon Gray for the weekend series vs. the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros

For the Tigers, it's about regrouping after their latest struggles. Although his team was outscored 20-12 in the first three games of this series, Detroit manager A.J. Hinch is taking an optimistic approach


"We have a chance to split a series tomorrow against a really good team," Hinch said after the Wednesday loss. "Quick turnaround, so tonight is a night to forget."

Olson will be making his fifth career start and sixth appearance after earning his first career victory in his latest outing, vs. the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. He allowed one run on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Olson had eight strikeouts in his previous start vs. the Kansas City Royals on June 19.


The Twins and Royals, though, don't have lineups that compare to the high-scoring Rangers. Texas has seemingly regained its offensive groove of late, too. Wednesday's eight-run victory was the club's most decisive win since a 12-3 victory over Seattle on June 4

Individually, the Rangers are receiving strong performances from Adolis Garcia, who has homered in each of the first three games of this series, and Ezequiel Duran, who has homered in back-to-back games


Josh Jung is also swinging the bat well. Jung hit his 16th home run on Wednesday, becoming just the fifth rookie third baseman in major league history with 16-plus home runs before the All-Star break, per STATS LLC. Atlanta's Austin Riley was the most recent to do it during the 2019 season.

It will be interesting to see how Olson handles the Rangers' lineup, although he impressed in his latest start


As Hinch said after that game, "He demonstrates so much poise and calmness and the ability to get back into counts."

--Field Level Media