The Taylor Hearn Experiment

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Every now and then in Major League Baseball, you will see teams start to get creative in their approach to winning. Over the course of a long 162-game season, teams can sometimes dig themselves into a hole with a long string of losses taking on the role of the shovel. That seems to be happening right now for the Texas Rangers, who came into their Tuesday matchup against the Oakland Athletics with a record of 26-46. These numbers, furthermore, have to be at the forefront of the mind of Rangers manager Chris Woodward. So, he has decided to move one of his relief pitchers from the bullpen into the starting rotation. Thus begins the Taylor Hearn experiment.


Rocky Start

The experiment started on Tuesday night at Globe Life Field in the second game of their four-game series against Oakland. It didn’t go as planned, however, as Hearn was only able to record two outs in the top of the first inning before Woodward elected to pull him for Brett de Gus. In his short outing, Hearn gave up four runs, all of them earned, on two hits. One of those hits was a home run off the bat of third baseman Matt Chapman. He also surrendered three walks and struck out two.


Positive Takeaway

Fortunately for the Rangers, this was designed to be a bullpen game. Thus, Woodward had every intention of pulling Hearn in the early innings. He just didn’t count on having to pull him as early as he did. Right now, it is unclear if Hearn will get another start. The Rangers are in a rebuilding year, but they still want to have a respectable season. The Taylor Hearn experiment hasn’t gotten off to a great start, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s over. Sometimes you just have to remain positive. The Atlanta Braves did something similar with John Smoltz in the early 90’s, and look how that turned out. He went from starter, to closer, and then back to starter and it worked out great. Smoltz would go on to turn in a Hall of Fame career. The point is, never say never. Hearn could still surprise a lot of people.


More Roster Moves

In another bullpen shift, the Rangers optioned Demarcus Evans to Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday. He had a rough few outings, so the Rangers are hoping to get him back on track. A part of his demotion ties into his performance. It also has to do with the fact that Evans’ pitch count has been really high lately, so this will act as sort of a breather for him, and it’s also a chance for him to work on his mechanics and get back up with the big club as soon as possible. Right-hander Joe Barlow has been called up to take his spot on the major league roster. Furthermore, the Rangers have also designated the aforementioned Brett de Gus for assignment. He is going to go through waivers, and if a team claims him, he would assume his Rule-5 status and remain on their roster for the rest of the year. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully, these moves along with the Taylor Hearn experiment will pay off for the Rangers.



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Players Mentioned:

Taylor Hearn, Joe Barlow, Demarcus Evans, John Smoltz, Matt Chapman, Brett de Gus