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Monday, September 30, 2013
Buzz: All pitchers ready to go, minus Yu

By Todd Wills

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't planning on having a quick hook for 22-year-old starter Martin Perez in Monday's American League wild-card tiebreaker game.

But he has plenty of arms to turn to if needed.

Washington said all of his pitchers, including starters Alexi Ogando, Matt Garza and Derek Holland, are available to come out of the bullpen in Game 163, an elimination game, against the Tampa Bay Rays. Yu Darvish is the only pitcher who won't be used.

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Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.

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Ogando is the most likely to be the first starter used because of his experience pitching out of the bullpen. Washington said he'll just flow with the game and base his decision on how far to go with Perez on how his innings are going.

"It just depends on what is happening," Washington said. "If he has issues in the first inning, it could be the first inning. If he has issues in the fifth inning, it could be the fifth. It could be the second, the third. We just have to see what scenario is being played out there."

Washington said he'll work with his complete bullpen Monday night. The Rangers' pen has dominated during their seven-game winning streak, allowing one run in 20 1/3 innings. They have 27 strikeouts.

Setup man Tanner Scheppers has thrown 36 pitches while throwing four straight days, so his low count helps. Closer Joe Nathan also has pitched four straight days and he's available for the elimination game.

Keeping his pitch count down has been huge for Scheppers.

"It helps him to allow us to use him," Washington said. "He comes in and pounding the strike zone. What Joe's been doing after Scheppers has been outstanding."

Scheppers said there's no stopping now and that he'll be ready.

"It doesn't matter anymore," Scheppers said. "You can't be down for (Game) 163."

Put Gentry in ink: Nelson Cruz's return to the Rangers' lineup as the designated hitter means that Washington was able to keep Craig Gentry in at left field, which is good because Gentry is the Rangers' hottest hitter with 17 hits in his last 36 at-bats. He wasn't coming out for anyone.

"I never thought about taking Gentry out of there," Washington said.

Wash on Price: Rays starter David Price, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, has not pitched well against the Rangers. He has a 10.26 ERA in Arlington and has lost all three postseason starts against Texas.

If the Rangers have a secret, they're not revealing it. "I can't give you that," Washington said. "It's something that happened."

Washington said the Rangers have the utmost respect for Price, who is 9-8 with a 3.39 ERA this season.

"We're certainly not that confident that we're going to go out there and destroy Price because of what we've done in the past," Washington said. "It's Sept. 30, 2013 and this is a different time and a different day. We just have to go out there and continue to play our game and see what happens.

"Believe me, there's no one in this clubhouse taking Price lightly."

Short hops: Injured pitcher Colby Lewis, the Rangers' best all-time postseason pitcher, will throw out the first pitch before Monday's game. He'll also be in uniform for the game. Washington said that Lewis and Matt Harrison will accompany the Rangers on the road if they make the postseason. ... The Rangers and Rays are the only teams in the major leagues with four straight seasons with 90-plus wins.