BOSTON -- Michael Kirkman's struggles continued on Tuesday night, when he allowed a run and four hits in 1 1/3 innings against the Red Sox. He has allowed five runs on 11 hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings in his last five outings, and 0-1 with a 6.95 ERA in 24 appearances on the season.
This is not what Kirkman expected after having a great Spring Training.
"Far from it," Kirkman said. "I feel like I'm throwing the ball better than the results show. I feel like if I keep making pitches, eventually things will keep rolling my way. My stuff is there. I've got movement on my fastball and my slider is working well. I just feel anytime I make the smallest mistake, it gets put in play. ... If I stay positive and keep working, when they put me out there, I still feel I can get three outs."
The Rangers are going to give Kirkman every chance, because he is out of options. He also averages 93.3 mph on his fastball, making him the third-hardest thrower on the team behind Tanner Scheppers (95.8) and Derek Holland (93.6). Kirkman's slider is also considered a plus pitch when he keeps it down in the strike zone.
"We're trying to get him a stretch where he's lights out," manager Ron Washington said. "We know it is in there."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less