ARLINGTON, Texas – After his first major league start didn’t go so well, Josh Lindblom had a talk with Greg Maddux, the special assistant to the GM for the Rangers who also happens to own four Cy Youngs.
That talk helped Lindblom grind through a rough inning in his second chance with the Rangers.
Lindblom gave up a three-run double in the third inning against Cleveland, then retired the next 10 batters before leaving with the score tied.
“He said he would always give a team three runs the first five innings, and after that they didn’t get anything,” Lindblom said. “So I kind of had that talk in my mind that that was it.”
The result was a no-decision for Lindblom, but he pitched well enough to give the Rangers a chance to take the lead in the seventh for a 6-3 win.
“With this offensive team, as you saw tonight, at any point they can explode,” Lindblom said. “So to be able to keep it at three runs and keep us in the game was huge.”
It was also huge that the Rangers got six innings out of a starter with an injury-riddled pitching staff. The Rangers are also in the midst of a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. Their next scheduled off day is June 24.
Lindblom was called up from Triple-A Round Rock to start Monday in place of an injured Alexi Ogando, just like his previous start on May 20 against Oakland.
In that game, Lindblom ran into trouble in the fifth inning, when he gave up doubles to three of the first four batters. He was pulled after allowing four runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-2 loss.
On Monday, it was the third inning when Lindblom gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases with two outs. Carlos Santana doubled to right field to score all three runners.
Lindblom recovered to strike out Mark Reynolds to end the inning, then followed with a perfect three innings before giving way to the bullpen.
“He really locked in [after the double] and kept us around and gave us a chance,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He pitched well tonight. You take that one pitch back, it’s a different ballgame as far as his line score goes.”
Lindblom said the key this time was not getting consumed by his mistakes.
“There’s nothing I can do to change the pitch that he hit, so I’ve just got to worry about the next pitch,” Lindblom said. “That’s when you see a game kind of snowball and get out of hand like the last game, Oakland. One pitch leads to another and you’re focused on the pitch before.”
Lindblom is also focused on the day-to-day. With Ogando making a second trip to the DL, the Rangers will need a fifth starter for at least the near future. Lindblom said he didn’t view Monday’s start as an audition.
“If you’d asked me that three or four months ago I probably would have said yes,” said Lindblom, whose major league experience had been solely as a reliever until this season. “But my job is to execute pitches and control what I can control. I can’t control any decisions that the front office makes, whether I’m auditioning or whether it’s just one start.”
Lindblom was sent back down to Triple-A immediately after his previous start, but the Rangers did not announce any moves Monday night.
“I haven’t had a chance to think about that, but he did a good job tonight,” Washington said when asked whether Lindblom earned another start. “There’s no guarantees.” Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire