When Kameron Loe was optioned five days ago, he obviously didn't visualize making a trip to Pittsburgh.
When he did get recalled, bet he didn't think about getting a base hit, not to mention scoring a run, something the white shirts didn't manage to do all night.
But I know Kameron a little bit, and I'm confident he did visualize becoming the first Rangers starting pitcher to see the eighth inning. Bet he envisioned executing his pitches exactly the way that he did.
Demoted but never used, he nonetheless returned to the big leagues a different pitcher. Backed by a home run barrage, he had immaculate command, firing 71 strikes in 108 pitches, coaxing 14 groundouts and just three in the air, and punching out a career-high seven, including four left-handed hitters. I don't remember seeing his breaking ball - the pitch he was sent to Oklahoma to work on - as consistent as it was tonight.
By the way: Bravo, Andy Hawkins.
This was a night for the bullpen to relax. And for me to relax.
A 24-42 record isn't all that much happier than 23-42, but an effort like that from a young player who has worked his tail off to go from a 20th-round pick and Class A tandem starter to the first Rangers pitcher in 15 games to fire a quality start - and I mean a quality start - is one of the best things that this team has given us all season.
There are going to be moments the rest of the year where someone does something to give us hope that next year and the year after that are going to be better. Maybe it will be Jason Botts. Or Frankie Francisco going on a tear. Or Gerald Laird or Robinson Tejeda or Travis Metcalf. Or a player or two that aren't even in the organization right now, but will be once the trading begins.
I really would like for Kameron Loe to be that guy, too. He's one of those pitchers whose funky mechanics have to be just right and whose command has to be locked in to succeed, since he's not going to blow hitters away. Pitchers who can locate with sink have a chance to make good things happen for this team, and Loe was that guy tonight. It was all working.
Following what I imagine to be his lead, I'm visualizing more of the same.
To join the free Newberg Report mailing list so you can get e-mail deliveries of every edition of the newsletter, daily minor league game recaps, and frequent Newberg Report News Flashes, go to www.newbergreport.com and click the "Mailing List" link on the top menu bar.
(c) Jamey Newberg
If you want to be removed from this list, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org