Joey Gallo playing some outfield

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
12:00
PM CT
Joey Gallo, the Rangers’ top minor league prospect, was playing the outfield in the Fall Instructional League.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels said it was more an experiment than anything else, and if and when Gallo gets to the big leagues, his position will be third base with the possibility of also playing first.

Gallo, a 6-5 slugger, hit 42 home runs with 106 RBIs between Advanced A and Double-A this season. Gallo’s slash line was .271/.394/.615 in 2014.

Daniels said Gallo will not be added to the 40-man roster and there isn’t an expectation he will make the majors in 2015.

“Joey is a very good athlete,” Daniels said. “I think ultimately Joey can be a very good major league defensive third baseman. It’s about adding versatility and also keeping him engaged and having a little fun out there. I think at times this year, Joey is 20-years old and he’s signing autographs an hour a night. He’s doing interviews with Dallas/Fort Worth media and a lot of expectations. It was a little bit of effort on our part to throw some different things at him and let him be a 20-year old and have some fun again.”

Daniels said Adrian Beltre (third base) and Prince Fielder (first base) are not going anywhere despite the flexibility of Gallo. Beltre is signed through 2015 and Fielder through 2020, so there is no rush to get Gallo up to the big leagues.

"You forget he’s a 20-year old, he’s 6-5, 240 pounds, hitting bombs and here's the pressure and everything associated with it, that was part of it," Daniels said. "The other part of it is he’s a very good athlete and we got a Hall of Famer at third base and if at some point we deem Joey is ready, we want to have some options, and that was it. He'll be playing third base next year (in the minors), it's not a position change."

Rangers in contract talks with Colby Lewis

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
9:45
AM CT
Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he’s held preliminary talks with Alan Nero, the agent for right-handed starter Colby Lewis, about a new contract.

Lewis led the team in innings (170.1) and starts (29) and tied with Yu Darvish for victories (10) in 2014. He signed a minor league contract with the Rangers for 2014 after an invasive hip surgery caused him miss to the entire 2013 season.

Lewis’ finish could garner him votes for AL Comeback Player of the Year, something interim manager Tim Bogar said he should get.

Daniels said he exchanged text messages with Nero on Sunday and talks could increase this week.

Right fielder Alex Rios ended the season hitting just .224 in his last 66 games, dropping his batting average to .280. He missed the final 22 games recovering from an infection in his right thumb.

The club has a $13.5 million option on Rios and he can be brought out for $1 million.

Rios, who had a career-high eight triples, said he would like to return.

“Yeah, that would be nice,” Rios said. “It’s not for me to decide.”

The Rangers have two free-agent pitchers, Scott Baker and Neal Cotts, who could be offered contracts as well.

Jon Daniels' time to fix the Rangers

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
7:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Monday morning, Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his staff will get to work on fixing this franchise.

A manager, starting pitching, corner outfielder with power, re-signing Colby Lewis and finding a No. 5 hitter will be on the agenda.

You can't solve these issues quickly, but for the next four months, Daniels has to.

"There are high expectations as we go into the offseason," Daniels said following the Rangers season, which ended Sunday afternoon with a 4-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics. "We expect to win every year, and we've created that expectation, created that atmosphere and created that culture."

The media-shy Rangers co-owners were nowhere to be found to discuss a 95-loss season and whether they believe in what the baseball people are doing.

This week, co-owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson declined to speak about the state of the Rangers, so Sunday afternoon Daniels was left to explain the plans for 2015.

He will interview three internal candidates, interim manager Tim Bogar, Mike Maddux and Steve Buechele, to replace Ron Washington, maybe this week. Daniels said Buechele, the Triple-A manager, had a phone interview with the Houston Astros.

Maddux, the pitching coach, whose contract ends at the end of October, said he wants to stay with the Rangers but is open to speaking with other clubs about managerial openings. Arizona, Houston and Texas have available jobs.

Finally, there's Bogar who took over for Washington and went 14-8. He's the favorite to win the job full time, and many players praised his communication skills.

Daniels noted his in-game management and work with young players as positives going forward. There could be three to four more external candidates visiting with Daniels and his baseball staff in the next few weeks.

Daniels wants a manager hired by Oct. 20, though he can't announce the hire during the World Series, given the rules against those sorts of things.

Yet, the quicker the decision is made, the better for Daniels.

"We got some tough calls to make," Daniels said. "Usually, when you're talking about cleaning up the roster, it's obvious there are a handful of guys that are easy guys to take off and that gets you down below to where you need to get to. I don't think we really have it that way this year."

It’s no easy fix.

The AL West is better, and, yes, Oakland struggled in the second half, but hey, they're playing in October and the Rangers are not. The Los Angeles Angels won the division, and Seattle was in the race until the final day. Houston's manager, Bo Porter, was fired, and, despite 90-plus losses, there is talent on this team.

Is there talent on the Rangers?

Yes.

Daniels wants to improve it.

He said starting pitching is the No. 1 priority this winter, but he won't go after top-tier free agents such as Jon Lester, however. "I like a lot of them, at least the guys on the list. I don't expect to play at the top end of free agency this year."

It's going to be a busy offseason for the Rangers, starting with finding a manager and making sure some of the big moves of 2013, Shin-Soo Choo (free agency) and Prince Fielder (trade), return healthy and produce.

"We need it to be a major uptick," Daniels said. "We made a big commitment, and I expect those guys to be healthy and I expect them to be productive."

Guarantees are lacking in this business, but Daniels is confident he can fix it. He's got ownership's support, which is good. Now, he just has to do it.

Rapid Reaction: Athletics 4, Rangers 0

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
5:16
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The regular-season finale ended with the Oakland Athletics clinching an AL Wild Card berth after almost blowing a playoff opportunity with a near second-half collapse.

The Rangers' season finished quietly, a 4-0 loss, to the Athletics at Globe Life Park, which ended a terrible season filled with injuries, inconsistency, a manager who resigned and major league records set for players (64) and pitchers (40) used in a single season.

The Rangers also set a franchise record by employing 23 rookies, which also led the majors in 2014, and the club needed the DL 26 times, most in the big leagues and fourth-most in franchise history.

A wonderful ride it was for the Rangers, who did finish the season strong by going 13-3 since Sept. 12 and 14-8 for interim manager Tim Bogar.

How it happened: For the second consecutive game, the Athletics jumped out to an early lead and this time they held it. Brandon Moss started the second inning with a double and scored on Josh Reddick's triple to dead center. An out later with the infield in, Stephen Vogt singled to center to push the lead to 2-0.

The Rangers did have runners at the corners with nobody out in the fifth, but Luis Sardinas struck out and Adam Rosales bounced into a 5-4-3 to end the inning.

How the Rangers do in the standings: Well, the Rangers finished September with a 14-12 mark and won 13 of the last 16 games. At Globe Life Park, the Rangers won eight of their last 10 games at home and finished 33-48, the lowest winning percentage in the AL. Against the AL West, the Rangers went 33-43, their most losses since 1988 (44). Texas won the season series against Oakland (10-9) and Seattle (10-9) this season. Texas finished 31 games behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. At one point, the Rangers were a season-high 37 games out of first place.

The attendance: The Rangers headed into Sunday’s game ninth in average attendance at 33,529 and drew 2.7 million to the ballpark. In what turned out to be a lost season for Texas, the club drew at least 30,000 on average for the final four games of the season against the Athletics, who were fighting for a playoff berth.

What’s next?: The offseason. Rangers have three free agents -- Neal Cotts, Scott Baker and Colby Lewis -- to make decisions on in addition to the option on Alex Rios, which it doesn’t appear will be picked up. Oh yes, that manager thing. The club has to decide if Bogar is the man for the gig or pick somebody else. The team has some coaches' contracts that need to get picked up including pitching coach Mike Maddux, who expressed a desire to remain with the club, but would also be open to becoming a manager elsewhere.
video

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Oakland Athletics finally clinched their third consecutive playoff berth -- on the last day of the regular season after a prolonged slump.

Sonny Gray threw a six-hitter to win for the first time in five September starts, Josh Reddick had an RBI triple and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 Sunday to clinch the American League's second wild card.

The A's lost 30 of their previous 45 games before winning game No. 162. They play the win-or-go-home wild-card game Tuesday night at Kansas City, which won five of the seven games in the season series against Oakland (88-74).

Adam Dunn, acquired by the A's on Aug. 31, is going to the playoffs for the first time after playing his 2,001st career game -- the most by any active player before getting to the postseason.

Gray (14-10) was 12-3 at the end of July, but was 1-7 in his 11 previous starts before Sunday.


(Read full post)


Pregame notes: Bogar to hold team meeting

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
12:50
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar is scheduled to have a team meeting with the team an hour before the regular season finale against the Oakland Athletics.

Bogar is 14-7 since taking over for Ron Washington and the Rangers have won 13 of their last 15 games heading into Sunday’s game.

“Just go over our last three weeks and talk about the offseason, it’s not going to be too crazy,” Bogar said of what the topics of discussion will be. “A state-of-the-union type thing.”

When the season ends, Bogar, along with pitching coach Mike Maddux, are expected to interview for the full-time job.

“I approach it like I have to win the job,” Bogar said of the upcoming interview. “We’ve righted the ship and the guys have a lot to be proud of from these last three weeks.”

Nick Martinez to start: The only drama for the Rangers going into Game No. 162 was who would start the finale.
Derek Holland, who missed Saturday’s outing with a migraine, is still feeling the effects of it, so Nick Martinez will get the start on Sunday against the Oakland Athletics.

“He wasn’t up to the task,” interim manager Tim Bogar said. “He’s been sick most of the night and it just looked like he didn’t have a lot of energy.”

Bogar said Holland could pitch out of the bullpen if necessary should he feel better during the course of the day.
Martinez (5-11, 4.61) is making his 24th start of the season and has won his last two starts. He’s given up just two runs over 12 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Lineup moves: Tomas Telis started at catcher over Robinson Chirinos for the finale. Bogar said it was mainly because Chirinos played the last three nights. ... OF Jim Adduci played Saturday night after missing the last 27 games with a concussion. Adduci, who went 0-for-3, wasn’t in the lineup on Sunday.

Extra Bases: Rangers again can play spoiler to struggling A's

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
9:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers conclude a tumultuous 2014 campaign with a meaningful game.

On the final day of the regular season, the Rangers can continue to play their role of spoiler when they host the Oakland Athletics for today’s 2:05 p.m. CT start at Globe Life Park.

Oakland’s magic number remains one, just as it was when Saturday began. That’s because Texas defeated Oakland 5-4 and the Seattle Mariners squeezed past the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 in 11 innings.

Oakland (87-74) owns a one-game lead over Seattle (86-75) and either a victory over Texas on Sunday or a Seattle loss to the Angels on the final day would wrap up a wild-card spot for the Athletics.

Nick Martinez is the Rangers’ scheduled starter, but consideration could be given to Derek Holland, Saturday’s scheduled starter who was scratched by a migraine headache.

The Rangers, out of playoff contention for weeks, are closing the season with a rush. Saturday night’s win was their 13th in the past 15 games. The club is 14-7 under interim manager Tim Bogar.

Looking beyond the season’s final game, Bogar was Saturday asked how he planned to spend his first postseason off day on Monday.

He joked that his first priority would be to sleep late.

But in a more serious vein, Bogar said he would begin preparing for the interviewing process with Rangers’ management that could remove the interim label from his current title.

“What we can do to be better as an organization,” Bogar said. “Our lineup next year, spring training; the planning starts on the first day.”

After 21 games as interim manager, Bogar said his relationship with general manager Jon Daniels “has been great.”

“We talk about a lot of stuff -- baseball related and not related. We have a lot in common with kids that are playing ball,” he said.

Bogar went through an interview with the club when he was hired as bench coach for former Rangers manager Ron Washington before the 2014 season. But that interview was more about getting along with the manager.

To interview for the manager’s job, Bogar said, is much more extensive because it deals with all aspects of the team.

Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos keeps A's celebration on ice with HR, key throws

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
1:53
AM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Robinson Chirinos was soaking up the good vibes in the Texas Rangers clubhouse after Saturday night’s 5-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics that at least temporarily put a hold on any A’s wild-card clinching celebrations.

“With everything we went through this year, it is fun to win some games and see everybody in the clubhouse smile,” the Rangers catcher said. “It says a lot about my teammates and coaches not giving up.”

Chirinos’ contributions Saturday ranged from the subtle -- handling the offerings of a starting pitcher and seven relievers -- to the obvious -- a two-run home run in the seventh that provided the Rangers’ ultimate margin of victory.

[+] EnlargeRobinson Chirinos
AP Photo/John F. Rhodes"With everything we went through this year, it is fun to win some games and see everybody in the clubhouse smile," Robinson Chirinos said after delivering big plays in Saturday's win. 
There also were two pinpoint Chirinos throws to second base to spoil Oakland steal attempts. Pinch runner Billy Burns was Chirinos' victim for the second out in the ninth inning, when a steal would have put the potential tying run at second base.

"Watching Robinson tonight was really exciting," Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar said. "Hitting the home run and then throwing out Burns, you've got to give him all the credit in the world."

A year ago this month, Chirinos began to change his throwing motion by working with then teammate Geovany Soto, Oakland’s starting catcher Saturday.

“I put the time in every day because it is helping me to get better,” he said. “Playing like this against Oakland is fun. It’s great to see everybody putting everything into the game. The last two years, Oakland did it to us.”

Chirinos had perhaps his best all-around game, despite taking a knock on the head that required the trainer’s attention in the eighth inning. The injury occurred when Chirinos was attempting to apply a tag on a sliding Josh Donaldson. Chirinos reached far to his right to take a throw from center fielder Leonys Martin and dived at the plate for a tag that came a moment too late.

“I hit my head,” Chirinos said. “It got me a little bit. But it has happened about 50 times this year.”

Not much notice: Emergency starter Scott Baker worked into the fifth inning and allowed Oakland only two runs. He had learned less than an hour before the game that scheduled starter Derek Holland had been scratched with a migraine headache.

The 32-year-old pitcher most recently worked in a game Sept. 5. He was sidelined in the interim by triceps soreness. He warmed up during Friday’s game.

“I felt good," Baker said. “I knew I was healthy, but I guess showing everyone else I was healthy means a lot."

A's fail to lock up playoff berth with loss to Rangers

September, 27, 2014
Sep 27
10:28
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Oakland Athletics stalled in their bid to clinch an AL wild-card spot, losing to the last-place Texas Rangers 5-4 Saturday on home runs by rookie Jake Smolinski and Robinson Chirinos.

The A's needed to win or have Seattle lose in order to clinch a playoff slot for the third straight year. The Mariners played later Saturday night at home against the Los Angeles Angels.

The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday.

Oakland couldn't take advantage of the first chance to clinch a playoff spot by itself, even though trade deadline pickup Jeff Samardzija (5-6) faced spot starter Scott Baker after Derek Holland was a late scratch with a migraine headache.

The Rangers used eight pitchers to beat the A's for the fifth time in six games since last week. Spencer Patton (1-0), the fourth reliever, got his first major league win and Neftali Feliz earned his 13th save.


(Read full post)


Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Athletics 4

September, 27, 2014
Sep 27
10:25
PM CT



ARLINGTON, Texas -- If the Oakland Athletics are to celebrate the clinching of a wild-card berth this weekend, the Texas Rangers made sure they would not be doing so Saturday night on the Globe Life Park diamond.

Oakland's magic number to gain a wild-card playoff berth remained at one following the Rangers' 5-4 victory over the Athletics before 35,326.

The Athletics would still clinch if the Seattle Mariners lost to the Los Angeles Angels.

A few observations:

Busy bullpen: It figured interim manager Tim Bogar would be utilizing a September-sized bullpen once an emergency starter was pressed into service. And he didn't disappoint, with a call going out to seven relievers: Alex Claudio, Shawn Tolleson, Michael Kirkman, Spencer Patton, Neal Cotts, Roman Mendez and, finally, Neftali Feliz for his 13th save. Only Cotts was charged with runs.

Quick on the trigger?: It appeared Bogar might have been too quick putting in the call for Mendez. The Athletics had Derek Norris in the on-deck circle to possibly hit for the left-handed Brandon Moss, but Norris was not announced. So when Mendez came on, Norris went back to the dugout and Moss stayed in the game. It worked out for the Rangers because Mendez struck out Moss on a 3-2 pitch.

Striking early: The Rangers turned consecutive singles by Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Adrian Beltre into two runs in the first inning for a 2-1 lead. A stolen base by Andrus and Odor's advance to second on a throw to the plate factored in the runs. Andrus aggressively scored from second on Odor's bullet to right field thanks to a Josh Reddick throw that arrived in time but a few feet offline.

Filling in: Emergency starter Scott Baker in four innings limited Oakland to two runs and four hits and left with a lead but no possible way to get a victory without the minimum five innings pitched. The versatile Baker was pressed into service when Derek Holland (migraine headache) was scratched an hour before game time. A Josh Donaldson home run that traveled an estimated 396 feet into the left-field stands off Baker gave Oakland a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

Gunned down: Catcher Robinson Chirinos notched his 24th and 25th runners caught stealing, initially in the third inning, when his throw to Andrus beat Eric Sogard at second base. More dramatically, he erased pinch runner Billy Burns in the ninth. Chirinos ranked fourth in the American League coming into the game despite having made only 88 starts.

Offensively, Chirinos' two-run home run in the seventh increased the Rangers' lead to 5-2. It came on an 0-1 pitch, his 13th of the season, and it traveled an estimated 414 feet.

No ordinary Smo: Jake Smolinski increased the Rangers' lead to 3-1 with a fourth-inning home run that traveled an estimated 375 feet before touching down in the left-field stands. The home run was his third, all of which have come since he returned from the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 16.

Up for review: Andrus was originally ruled safe on a stolen-base attempt in the third inning, but after a challenge by Oakland manager Bob Melvin and a 32-second review, the call by crew chief Bill Welke was overturned.

The Rangers unsuccessfully challenged the safe call on Athletics baserunner Donaldson at the plate in the eighth inning.

Defensive gems: Ryan Rua turned the wrong way on a scalded liner by Donaldson in the third inning but recovered in time to make a leaping catch in deep left field.

Beltre grabbed a sizzling liner off the bat of former teammate Geovany Soto leading off the third frame.

Leonys Martin got a good jump on a line drive to his left and made a sliding catch on one knee to retire pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo in the seventh.

The Rangers turned snappy double plays in the fifth (started by Andrus) and sixth (started by Odor) innings.

Up next: The Rangers put a cap on the 2014 season in a 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday start against Oakland at Globe Life Park. In a matchup of 24-year-old right-handers, Nick Martinez (5-11, 4.61 ERA) will be opposed by Sonny Gray (13-10, 3.21 ERA) on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Spacious parks preferred by Tim Bogar

September, 27, 2014
Sep 27
7:46
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Globe Life Park is no longer a launching pad for home runs. If given the choice, Texas Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar wants to keep it that way.

“I remember coming in here as a visiting coach, and the ball used to carry better," Bogar said before Saturday’s matchup against the Oakland Athletics. “It used to be a hitter’s park."

But after some physical changes to the stadium’s structure a couple years ago, the wind that used to howl in the direction of center and right-center fields has been reduced.

Bogar noted that while balls hit in the direction of the Rangers’ bullpen do still seem to carry, balls to center field do not.

“I’ve seen a ton of balls die in left-center that I thought were home runs," he said.

A spacious outfield, the manager pointed out, can lead to more extra-base hits.

“I’d rather have a bigger park," Bogar added.

Baseball, Bogar said, goes through cycles, and now the trend is moving away from one-dimensional sluggers and back to all-around ballplayers.

“I don’t buy into the idea that a strikeout is just another out," he said. “Having the ability to take swings and hit the ball puts pressure on a defense. There’s a lot of value in a positive out."

The benchmark for a strikeout-prone batter used to be fanning 100 times in a season.

“Now it is more like 150," Bogar said. "And that’s a joke."

Meaningful game: The Rangers, out of playoff contention for weeks, have another chance to play spoiler tonight. Oakland needs one more win or a Seattle Mariners loss to the Los Angeles Angels to clinch a wild-card playoff berth. With the other game starting later, the Athletics should have the opportunity to clinch on the field.

Despite Friday’s 6-2 loss to Oakland, the Rangers are 13-7 under Bogar and have won 12 of the past 14.

Adduci starts: Jim Adduci, out of action since Aug. 28 due to a concussion, draws a start as designated hitter for Game 161. Adduci was injured making a catch in foul territory in Houston when his head hit the warning track and side wall.

It has been a frustrating season for the Rangers’ outfielder. In April, Adduci fractured a finger, and that caused him to miss the next three months.

Derek Holland scratched, Scott Baker to start

September, 27, 2014
Sep 27
6:24
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers left-handed pitcher Derek Holland, scheduled to start tonight’s 7:05 game against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park, has been scratched because of a migraine headache.

Scott Baker (3-4, 5.52 earned run average) has been named the replacement starter.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Before losing Friday night to the Oakland Athletics, the Texas Rangers had won 12 of 13 games.

As part of this surge, you must credit left-hander Derek Holland.

[+] EnlargeDerek Holland
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezIn his five starts -- four of which the Rangers won -- Derek Holland is 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA.
Of course, he didn't win every game, but his return from microfracture surgery on his left knee was a perfect example to his teammates to not give up on the season.

"I think Derek is a big part of it, not only with his performance so far, but just his personality and his leadership in the clubhouse," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "Everybody was really happy to see him back, and something about Derek, he worked his butt off to get back here, I mean he worked really hard. He probably could have been back earlier, but we didn’t want to push it. We wanted to make sure once he got back on the field he was never going back off of it again.

"It’s inspirational to other guys that he worked that hard so when he got back here you’ve seen the benefit of it, the games that he’s pitched. It’s been pretty special, and those guys in there just love having him around -- and that energy has been infused into this team; it’s been part of what’s happened."

Holland is scheduled for his final start of the season Saturday night against the A's. In five starts, Holland is 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA, and has given up two or fewer runs in all of them. He's the fifth pitcher in club history to achieve something like this.

"I think doing what we’re doing is huge," Holland said of the Rangers' recent victories. "The season we’ve had, even talking to the fans and the people, they've kinda forgotten what’s happened -- look what’s happening now? I think they’ve turned the page and we have already turned the page, too."

Holland said he would continue to rehab his knee and club officials have indicated that his arm is strong. Holland noted that he typically gets stronger as a season progresses, but if you combine the rehab work, minor-league starts and his time with the big club, maybe he's gaining strength at the right time.

"It’s been like a roller coaster," he said. "It started with me not being able to play and come out here watch these guys perform every day and not really feel like you’re a part of the team -- and then to get back with the team and then make an appearance and [Ron Washington] is gone. Just a big battle. The main thing is I’ve held out pretty strong and I’ve held up mentally and keep myself on the right side and help my teammates as much as possible."

Good signs for Nick Tepesch going into '15

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
11:30
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Consistency is something a young pitcher like the Texas Rangers' Nick Tepesch is still learning.

The right-hander went 2-0 in his first three starts of the 2014 season but finished 3-10 in the last 19.

On Friday night, Tepesch struggled with his control. In going 4 1/3 innings, he gave up six runs, five earned before collecting a loss against the Oakland Athletics.

[+] EnlargeNick Tepesch
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

"As the season went on he got better and better," Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar said of starter Nick Tepesch.

"I didn't have very good command," said Tepesch, who fell to 5-11 on the season. "I didn't get to strike one very well and missing strike one you find yourself fighting to get back into counts. It puts you in a disadvantage not getting strike one and falling behind early. A lot of deep counts."

It was an interesting lineup for the Athletics on Friday, a team fighting to maintain a playoff berth. Adam Dunn started in the No. 2 spot for the first time since 2008 and drove in the first two runs of the night with a double.

"I don't think it threw me off at all," said Tepesch on facing Dunn, who normally bats in the Nos. 4, 5 or 6 spots. "To go from four to two, it's not that big of a difference. You still got to face him."

This entire season is encouraging for Tepesch.

He compiled a 4.08 ERA in September, threw a career-high 126 innings -- third most on the team -- and his 22 starts were third-most behind Colby Lewis and Nick Martinez, who will pitch the regular season finale on Sunday.

As the Rangers figure out who will be in their rotation for 2015, Yu Darvish and Derek Holland are locks.

There's Lewis, a free agent who wants to return and told GM Jon Daniels this during the last road trip.

The Rangers have young talented pitchers recovering from injuries, including Martin Perez and Matt Harrison. Miles Mikolas showed some promise before he was shut down because of shoulder soreness.

Tepesch is among this group who will compete for a starting job in 2015.

"As the season went on, he got better and better," interim manager Tim Bogar said. "[Friday] was a little bit of a setback; nothing crazy, it was just one of those nights. He threw the ball OK, just not where he wanted to throw it. We make that double play there (in the third inning, when a first baseman Adam Rosales committed an error on the play), it might be a little bit different.

“I'm pretty happy with how many innings he's thrown this year. And he's posted every fifth day, and it's a good sign going into next year."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182