Texas Rangers: Phil Klein

Rapid Reaction: Angels 8, Rangers 1

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When you get a steady pitching effort -- and that doesn't happen often for the Texas Rangers -- you need to drive in runs.

That has been a problem of late sometimes.

The Los Angeles Angels defeated the Rangers 8-1 on Wednesday night. Since beating the Houston Astros 13-6 on Aug. 29, the Rangers have scored only 21 runs in the past 11 games. In that span, they've been shut out once, held to one run four times and scored fewer than three runs 10 times.

Part of the equation of scoring runs is doing damage with runners in scoring position. The Rangers went 1-for-7 in that area Wednesday night and have gone 5-for-41 the past five games.

Rangers starter Nick Tepesch, who has battled with consistency this season, pitched well enough to win, but in 4⅔ innings of work, he gave up three runs and 10 hits. He battled out of some jams during his 93-pitch outing.

His teammates at the plate just didn't provide him with the run support needed.

How it happened: Everything unraveled quickly for Tepesch. He hit No. 2 hitter Mike Trout, but Albert Pujols tripled down the right-field line, his first in four seasons, for a 1-0 lead. Trout, who scored twice Wednesday, has scored 101 times this season. Trout became one of only six major leaguers to score at least 100 times in three different seasons before turning 23.

The Angels added to the lead when Trout scored on Howie Kendrick's double-play grounder in the fifth, and Brennan Boesch drove in another run when he hit into a fielder's choice for a 4-0 lead.

The bases-loaded play to Pujols: It was a gutsy move by interim manager Tim Bogar, and the percentages dictated he did it. Trailing 3-0, Bogar elected to intentionally walk Trout to get to Pujols with one out.

Phil Klein drew a 6-4-3 grounder from Pujols on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. It was a smart move by Bogar because if he knew Pujols could hit a ball on the ground, doubling him up was nearly assured. Pujols leads the AL in grounding into double plays with 26 and is second in the majors to Miami's Casey McGehee (28).

Andrus returns: Shortstop Elvis Andrus had missed the past two games so the Rangers could see Luis Sardinas. Andrus returned to the lineup and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Andrus' first-inning single snapped an 0-for-10 spell, and he has only four hits in 17 at-bats during this 10-game homestand.

What's next?: The three-game series concludes when RHP Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.03 ERA) takes on RHP Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.81) on Thursday night.

Rapid Reaction: Rays 6, Rangers 3

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Robbie Ross returned to the big club with confidence and fixed mechanics.

But it was the same results for the Texas Rangers left-hander on Thursday night.

Ross, who started for ace Yu Darvish (elbow) and lasted 4⅓ innings, gave up six runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ross was demoted to Triple-A Round Rock on June 17 for his struggles. He earned a call-up when Darvish went to the 15-day disabled list. General manager Jon Daniels said Ross' moderate success in Round Rock, which included a three-game win streak and a 3.60 ERA in two August starts, made him a strong candidate for a September call-up.

After a productive first inning when he struck out the side, it fell apart for Ross as he gave up four runs in the next two innings.

The Rays took three of four games from the Rangers and kept their slim AL wild-card hopes alive. The Rangers' hopes? The first pick of next year's draft.

How it happened: A one-out infield hit by Sean Rodriguez got the party started for the Rays in the second inning. Yunel Escobar hit his fifth homer of the season for a 2-0 lead. Ross continued his problems in the third when Evan Longoria drove in a run with a two-out RBI single to left and James Loney brought in another run for a 4-0 lead.

The dagger was Longoria's two-run shot in the fifth, on the first pitch he saw to push the advantage to 6-2. A single and a walk followed, and in came manager Ron Washington to end the night for Ross.

Home is heartbreak: In 19 home series this season, the Rangers are 6-10-3. The last time the Rangers won a series was July 28-30 when they took two of three from the New York Yankees. This was also the final game this season against the AL East. The Rangers are 10-22 against the division and have lost 15 of their last 21 games.

Klein pitches well: Some were wondering just where rookie reliever Phil Klein was the past two nights. The Rangers wanted him to get a little more rest after he was warming up in the bullpen but hadn't entered a game yet. In taking over for Ross, he pitched 2⅔ innings with five strikeouts. In his first two games in the big leagues, Klein gave up home runs to the first batter he faced each time. Nothing bad has occurred in the past three appearances.

Choo keeps striking out: Leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo has struck out in 12 consecutive games. His three strikeouts Thursday give him 23 during that span. On the season, Choo has struck out a major-league leading 100 times from the leadoff spot. The Rangers' record for most strikeouts in a single season for a leadoff hitter belongs to Oddibe McDowell (1986) and David Dellucci (2005) at 105.

Holland rehab outing: Left-hander Derek Holand had his fourth rehab outing at Round Rock on Thursday night. He went 3⅔ innings, giving up three runs, one earned, and four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Holland walked two and threw 72 pitches, the most he has thrown during his rehab from knee surgery.

Up next: The Rangers will play host to the Los Angeles Angels this weekend. Right-hander Nick Martinez (2-8, 5.22) takes on right-hander Garrett Richards (12-4, 2.54) on Friday night.

Extra Bases: Tepesch tries to build

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nick Tepesch is all about maintaining a level of consistency.

Tepesch (4-7, 4.46) faces the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, coming off a solid performance last week in Chicago.

He shut out the White Sox over 5 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, with one walk and two strikeouts in a 79-pitch effort. The Rangers won, 3-1, and extended their win streak to two games.

“Anytime you get the ball, you want to string together good starts,” said Tepesch, who will make his 14th start of the year. “Give the team a chance to win. For me, it’s not game-by-game, I go inning-by-inning and try to break it down more like that. I feel like if you do it like that you make it easier on yourself mentally and you’re not worried about what’s happened or what’s about to happen. It’s about happening right now.”

Tepesch had been on a personal four-game losing streak before that win in Chicago. While he pitched into the sixth inning in each of the losses during the streak, he left the game trailing.

In the White Sox game, he left with the lead.

“I feel like I commanded the ball pretty well the last couple times out and really that’s the name of the game,” he said. “As a pitcher, being able to do what you want with pitches and being effective (is important).”

Scoreless streak ends for bullpen: In Sunday’s victory over the Houston Astros, the Rangers bullpen picked up four scoreless innings. That was extended to five in the early stages of Mondays’ game as Phil Klein pitched a scoreless sixth in relief of Colby Lewis. Nate Adcock and Scott Baker allowed runs to score toward the end of a 7-0 loss to the Rays. Adcock has given up runs in his last two relief appearances.

Hitters' streaks: 3B Adrian Beltre reached base three times Monday night, marking the 19th time he’s done that this season. Beltre has reached base in five of the last eight plate appearances. Rougned Odor’s eighth-inning double extended his hitting streak to a season-high six games. His 17 extra base hits are tied for the fourth-most by a Rangers rookie since 2009.

Rangers call up reliever Phil Klein

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
CLEVELAND --- Phil Klein was called into Steve Buechele's office and was delivered the news: He would have to find his way into two tickets for his parents. The 25-year-old Klein paused out of confusion, wondering if his parents would be surprising him for the Round Rock Express’ game against Oklahoma City, only to find out that they would only be driving a few miles up Interstate-71 to potentially watch their son debut against the Cleveland Indians at the major league level.

“It was pretty surreal,” said Klein. “I let it sink in from there. Being close to home, we’ll have a lot of family and friends come out, which is pretty nice.”

Klein, who grew up just outside of Columbus, Ohio and attended Youngstown State just east of Cleveland, was called up Friday afternoon in what is the first of likely several promotions over the final two months of the 2014 season for the Texas Rangers. Drafted in the 30th round in 2011, the 6-foot-7 towering right-hander is presently in the midst of a dominant stretch where he has thrown 18 1/3 scoreless innings while striking out 28 batters, allowing just seven hits while walking six.

“I try not to pay attention to that, honestly,” Klein said of his current scoreless streak. “I just try to go out there and throw consistently good pitches outing after outing. That stuff adds up in the end, but that’s not the goal. I’m not trying to go out there and have a streak of scoreless innings and whatnot. Consistency over time has just been the product of that.”

On the season, Klein has allowed just three runs in 51 2/3 innings across Double-A and Triple-A. He attributes much of his recent success to some self-diagnosed changes in mechanics. He now toes the middle of the rubber, shunning the allure of visual leverage provided by the third-base side. He has lowered his set out of the stretch in addition to changing the grip on a few pitches, one of which is a cutter that has the look of a slider without the loss in velocity.

“He’s very impressive,” said Rangers reliever Nick Martinez, Klein’s roommate in Class A ball who praised the reliever's athleticism and flexibility despite his size. “He’s always had the talent but just flew under a lot of radars.”

In order to make room for Klein, the Rangers designated LHP Ryan Feierabend for assignment. They have 10 days to trade, release or assign Feierabend to the minor leagues. Klein will work primarily in the middle innings out of Ron Washington’s bullpen, potentially for multiple innings per outing, and could very well make his debut Friday night in the very stadium he traveled to as a child. The goal will be to get Klein, along with other younger players, experience so that the team can gauge what they have in the way of talent, maturity and the ability to adjust at the major league level as they prepare for 2015.

“He hasn’t given up anything in Triple-A and did a good job in Double-A,” said Washington of his newest addition. “He’s moving fast. We’ll see what he has to offer.”



Colby Lewis
10 5.18 133 170
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182