ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joe Nathan has been more than reliable for the Texas Rangers. But a rare lack of control would end up dooming Nathan and the Rangers in a 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.
With the game tied at 1 in the ninth, Nathan retired his first two batters with relative ease, striking out Cody Ross and getting Will Middlebrooks on a popout. But then pinch hitters Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia reached base on back-to-back walks. Nathan went to a full count on the Red Sox's No. 9 hitter, Mike Aviles, before Aviles lined the seventh pitch of the at-bat just over the glove of a leaping Elvis Andrus to drive in the go-ahead run. Nathan retied the next batter, but the one run was all the Red Sox needed to seal a victory.
"It was one of those things," Nathan said. "I fell behind and tried to make pitches. The walk to Nava is the one that hurt. I took my chances with Aviles and we lost. But it was a good ballgame. I’ll come back tomorrow.”
Nathan had allowed only five walks all season going into the Tuesday's game and had gone a career-long 80 straight appearances with one or fewer passes.
"It's baseball," Nathan said. "You’re not going to be perfect every time you go out. I think most people think that you should be if you’ve only walked five guys, that means you shouldn’t walk guys, but this is baseball and anything can happen. I lost command for one hitter. Unfortunately, it was one of those nights.”
Nathan said he felt very good physically going into the game, but added that his recent lack of appearances may have affected his performance.
"Tonight I felt stronger than I have in a while, to be honest," He said. "I’ve pitched twice in the last week and a half. For me to not have command there, it comes with the territory. When you can’t get out there, you’re command’s going to be off.”
Despite the stumble, Nathan remained unfazed. The 11-year veteran said he will return to work tomorrow and do his job.
"Tomorrow's another day," He said. "I’ve been doing this long enough that bouncing back is not the thing, it’s about playing again tomorrow. Whatever happens in the past is in the past, good or bad. It seems like I’ve said this 8 zillion times, but good or bad, it’s in the past and we’ve got to play again tomorrow.”