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Good signs for Nick Tepesch going into '15

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.

"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."