Nolan Ryan expects team to bounce back

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After watching the Rangers get blown out two consecutive nights by the Red Sox (including Wednesday's 13-2 loss), club president and CEO Nolan Ryan said he figures his team will respond. Texas has lost five of its last seven and, depending on the Angels' outcome tonight, could be 2 1/2 games ahead in the AL West.

"I think I've learned about this ballclub that they'll go through periods where they don't play as well as you'd like to see and then they'll bounce back," Ryan said. "I'm not as worried about the offensive and defensive side of it as much as I am the pitching."

The starting pitching, a strength for this club for much of the season, has struggled during this latest stretch. In the last five games, Texas has gone 1-4 and starters have given up at least five runs in three of those games. Opponents are batting .333 against them. The last two nights, Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison each allowed seven runs on a combined 20 hits. The bullpen has also had its difficulties in the last five games, sporting a 9.60 ERA. On Wednesday, every pitcher except Mark Lowe gave up a run.

"They're just not sharp," Ryan said about the pitching. "They looked fatigued, and these are the dog days and this is when you have to push yourself."

Manager Ron Washington said this week the club is monitoring its young pitchers and would consider spot-starting and utilizing the off days to get them some breaks. Ryan, though, remains confident in his team.

"I think they'll bounce back," Ryan said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they came out smoking against the Angels. About the time you start getting concerned, they come out with a whole different attitude and find a way. There's not any telltale signs that lead you to make a prediction."

Veteran leader Michael Young isn't worried. He was asked what he can say to the team.

"I don’t think I need to say anything to them," Young said. "We’ve proven ourselves over time and we know what we're capable of doing. We’ll come out tomorrow and play hard. We know we're a good team, we know we're capable of winning a lot of games and we know we're capable of going on a hot streak."

There was no panic in Washington's voice, either (not that there ever is).

"All you can do is bounce back," Washington said. "We got beat. There was nothing we could do about it. They put runs on the board. So you come back tomorrow and try to put your game together and hope you can keep it intact on the mound."