Texas Rangers: Scott Baker

Pregame notes: Baker scratched from start

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
5:40
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers scratched spot starter Scott Baker from Saturday’s scheduled outing against the Braves because of triceps tendinitis in his right elbow.

Lisalverto Bonilla will take his turn and become the 15th different pitcher to start a game for the Rangers this season. The Rangers have used the most starters in the American League and will tie the Rockies for the big-league lead when Bonilla makes his start.

“I feel very proud to start a game,” said Bonilla, who has pitched 3 2/3 innings in two relief appearances since being called up. “Of course I want to make my pitches and get ahead of the hitters and I’ll be OK.”

Interim manager Tim Bogar said he likes Bonilla’s mental makeup and described him as a "fly on the wall," in terms of trying to learn. Bonilla throws a good breaking ball, offspeed stuff and he gets ahead of hitters with his fastball.

Bonilla spent the bulk of his time in the minors as a starter but was moved to the bullpen this season when he arrived at Triple-A Round Rock. But he has moved back and forth between roles because of the Rangers' rotation issues. In six starts for Round Rock, Bonilla went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA, and opponents hit .204 against him.

Workload taking toll: The workload for Baker and Miles Mikolas has apparently led to some health issues. Baker has pitched 76 2/3 innings this season, his first significant workload since returning from Tommy John surgery. He missed the 2012 season while recovering and pitched in three games for the Chicago Cubs last season.

Mikolas, who is out with a sore shoulder, was a reliever in the minors before making the switch to the rotation this season. Mikolas has thrown a career-high 57 innings this season over 10 starts.

“I don’t know if that’s an exact reason for it,” Bogar said of Baker's soreness. “There is going to be a little bit more wear on that (arm). Same with Miles; he’s had a pretty good workload, too. It’s only common for their arms to get a little bit sore or stiff.”

Feliz's velocity up: Closer Neftali Feliz wasn’t in his normal end-of-game situation Thursday night, but he threw in the high 90s, including two 97-mph fastballs to Albert Pujols in the ninth inning. Pujols, who struck out four times for the first time in his career, went down swinging on a Feliz fastball out of the strikezone.

“I’m just competing,” Feliz said. “Sometimes I feel real good, and when that happens I can make my pitches.”

Injury update: RF Alex Rios was scheduled to get the stitches removed from his thumb Friday. He’s still not ready to take live batting practice or take defensive drills. … OF Jake Smolinski (foot) ran full speed on Friday and expects to make the final road trip of the season, which starts Tuesday in Oakland. … OF Jim Adduci (concussion) said he doesn’t have headaches and is doing some heart-rate work. … INF Jurickson Profar (shoulder) said he’s throwing from 90 feet during his throwing program. He doesn’t know when he’ll start throwing across the infield yet.

Rapid Reaction: Mariners 7, Rangers 5

September, 5, 2014
Sep 5
10:48
PM CT

 
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' Friday started with a 3 p.m. meeting, described as emotional, during which Ron Washington announced his resignation as team manager.

Then the business of baseball continued on the field in the evening, and the Rangers were beaten 7-5 by the playoff-contending Seattle Mariners.

Scott Baker lasted just 4⅓ innings, during which he gave up three home runs: a two-run shot to Kendrys Morales in the second inning before a solo shot to Mike Zunino and a two-run blast from Brad Miller in the fifth.

It was a difficult debut for interim manager Tim Bogar, but the Rangers (53-88) had been struggling with Washington running the show.

The club has lost seven consecutive games and has yet to win in September.

What happened? Do you really want to know? Really? OK, Kyle Seager drew a leadoff walk in the second and Morales homered into the right-field seats for a 2-0 lead.

The Rangers cut the deficit to one in the fourth on Rougned Odor's RBI single. Pitching coach Mike Maddux wanted to see a shutdown inning from Baker and he didn’t get it. With one out, Zunino homered to right-center and, after a single and stolen base from Endy Chavez, Miller homered to push the lead to 5-1.

Bogar replaced Baker with Shawn Tolleson.

The Rangers were down 7-2 when Adam Rosales' fourth home run of the season cut the deficit to three in the sixth. Leonys Martin scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to make things interesting for Seattle closer Fernando Rodney.

Interim status: Bogar becomes the fifth interim manager in club history. Del Wilber (1973), Connie Ryan (1977), Toby Harrah (1992) and Jerry Narron (2001) were the others. With Bogar the interim manager, Bobby Jones takes over as the bench coach.

First challenge: Bogar challenged a 6-4-3 double play in the eighth when it appeared Michael Choice was safe at first, but a review confirmed the umpires' call. The Rangers are 18-for-36 on challenges this season.

Rios out: Right fielder Alex Rios, who has been dealing with a swollen right thumb the past few weeks, has developed an infection. Team officials said he’ll miss at least a week. Rios, who has underachieved this season, is hitting just .184 in the past 28 games.

Minor league success: Myrtle Beach defeated Salem 5-0 on Friday night to advance to the championship series of the Carolina League, winning the best-of-three Southern Division series 2-1. Royce Bolinger drove in two runs and Chad James struck out seven over 5⅔ innings for the victory. Myrtle Beach will host Potomac in Game 1 of the best-of-five championship series beginning Saturday.

What’s next? Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.14 ERA) takes on fellow right-hander Chris Young (12-7, 3.46), a Highland Park, Texas, native, in a scheduled 7:05 p.m. start Saturday.

W2W4: Rangers vs. Mariners

September, 4, 2014
Sep 4
9:30
AM CT
The Texas Rangers begin a four-game series with the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

What's up with the Mariners?: Seattle (75-63) is just a half-game back of the second wild-card spot in the AL. The Mariners are in the midst of a seven-game road trip and lost two of three the last time they faced the Rangers. Seattle is 27-17 vs. left-handed pitching and has won five of the last seven against southpaws. In this series, the Mariners will face left-handers Robbie Ross and Derek Holland. It's the first time Seattle will take on a lefty since Aug. 20. Fernando Rodney is tied for third in the AL with 41 saves. Robinson Cano is fifth in batting average (.321) and fourth in hits (163).

What's up with the Rangers?: They've lost five consecutive games heading into a 10-game, 11-day homestand, which ties their longest stretch at home of their season. Daniel Robertson is hitting .346 with five doubles since Aug. 22. Elvis Andrus leads the team with 25 stolen bases, and Ryan Rua's had two hits Wednesday for his first mult-hit game of his career. The Rangers have used a MLB-record 61 players this season. Ross, who didn't allow a hit through five innings in Houston last week, was switched with Scott Baker (neck strain) in the rotation and will pitch Thursday. The Rangers went 3-for-28 with runners in scoring position in the three-game set vs. Kansas City.

Darvish's season over?: Rangers ace Yu Darvish will undergo an examination on his right elbow Thursday. Darvish hasn't pitched since Aug. 9 at Houston where he lasted just four innings, allowing six runs (five earned) in a loss. It's doubtful Darvish will return this season.

Do it for Durrett: A benefit concert for former ESPNDallas.com Rangers beat writer Richard Durrett, who passed away in June, will be held Saturday at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth. The benefit will raise money for his wife and three kids. For more information go here.

Pitching matchups: Thursday: LHP Robbie Ross (2-5, 5.63) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (9-12, 3.97); Friday: RHP Scott Baker (3-3, 5.23) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (13-6, 2.90); Saturday: RHP Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.14) vs. Chris Young (12-7, 3.46); Sunday: LHP Derek Holland (0-0, 1.29) vs. LHP James Paxton (5-1, 1.91).

Pregame Notes: Holland to pitch Tuesday

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
6:55
PM CT
HOUSTON -- The Rangers will activate left-handed starter Derek Holland from the disabled list and he will start Tuesday night against Kansas City.

Holland made his sixth and final rehab start Thursday night for Triple-A Round Rock to test his control, make sure his back and knee were fine and to build more arm strength.

Holland lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on 98 pitches. He said this was his best outing overall, however, his manager wasn't that impressed with his six rehab efforts.

“Yeah, I guess it is,” Ron Washington said when asked if Holland’s rehab outings were OK. “Me personally, I wanted him to dominate. I think he’s that good. He did OK."

Between Round Rock and one outing at Double-A Frisco, Holland compiled a 4.43 ERA and allowed 10 earned runs in 20 1/3 innings of work.

Holland missed the start of the season when he needed left knee surgery after suffering an injury while tripping over his dog in his house.

After proving he could pitch without leg issues, Holland missed a rehab start last Sunday with back spasms. With the Rangers expanding the rosters with September call-ups, it’s only a natural Holland gets an opportunity to get a few starts.

“It’s been a long process,” he said. “Obviously longer than what we expected. But at the same time, it was more of if we were in the pennant race, maybe we should have been back sooner. I can’t dictate that. My job is to go out there and compete and show them that I can perform and that I’m ready to go.”

Choice tries to get going: Michael Choice was fantastic in spring training.

He did what you’re supposed to do: win a spot on the roster.

Choice had a problem once the season started, he couldn’t hit and was demoted to Triple-A Round Rock on July 7. He's returned and in the last three games is hitless in 10 at-bats.

On the season, Choice is hitting .168 with a .242 OBP.

“Things are a lot different for me now,” said Choice, an Arlington native. “No. 1, I’m a lot more relaxed and I know what to expect and I’m just trying to get as many good at-bats as I can.”

The Rangers haven’t run out of patience.

“We just want to give Michael a chance to settle in,” Washington said. “It was his third game back, Mike might be a little bit shaky.”

Base Hits: RF Jim Adduci wasn’t at the ballpark Friday as he deals with a concussion. ... 1B Ryan Rua, who was called up Friday, will play first base and outfield for the Rangers. Washington said Rua’s best position is second base followed by third. Rua said he carries three gloves with him. ... Friday will be Scott Baker’s last outing as a starter because he’ll move back to long relief to accommodate Holland’s return to the rotation.

W2W4: Rangers at Astros

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
10:00
AM CT
The Texas Rangers continue their 10-game road trip with a four-game set against the Houston Astros.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the Astros?: Houston fell 5-4 to Oakland on Wednesday, blowing a 3-2 lead when they allowed three in the ninth inning. Houston, however, has won 14 games in the last at-bat this season with DH Chris Carter hitting four home runs in those games. Carter (33 home runs and 78 RBIs) leads the majors in HR (12) and RBIs (29) in August. 2B Jose Altuve leads the majors with 181 hits. His slash line is .332/.370/.435. C Jason Castro is 4-for-8 with two RBI against Friday starter Nick Tepesch. The Astros have lost four of five games.

What’s up with the Rangers?: They are a pretty good tear, considering where this team sits in the standings. The Rangers have won three of their last four games and are 2-1 to start this road trip. C Tomas Telis is off to a strong start since his promotion from Triple-A Round Rock. He’s 3-for-8 with three RBIs and two runs scored in the two games he’s played. LF Michael Choice is 0-for-7 with a one run in the two games he’s been here. SS Elvis Andrus has four hits in his last 27 at-bats. 3B Adrian Beltre has had multiple-hit games in six of his last eight contests and has 18 hits in the last 10 games. The Rangers are 21-31 against the AL West.

Derek Holland gets going: Left-handed starter Derek Holland is scheduled to pitch in Round Rock on Thursday night in his final rehab start. If Holland doesn’t encounter any problems, expect him to move to the big club when the rosters expand next week. Holland hasn’t pitched this season for the Rangers as he recovers from knee surgery.

Pitching matchups: Thursday: RHP Nick Tepesch (4-8, 4.45) vs. RHP Collin McHugh (6-9, 3.02); Friday: TBA vs. LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-9, 4.01); Saturday: RHP Miles Mikolas (2-5, 6.44) vs. RHP Scott Feldman (7-10, 4.34); Sunday: RHP Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.31) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (10-9, 3.05).

Holland to make rehab start Thursday

August, 24, 2014
Aug 24
7:10
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said left-handed starter Derek Holland (knee) will throw his last rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Round Rock. Holland is scheduled for two throwing sessions, on Monday and Tuesday, and if there are no physical problems, his scheduled start at Round Rock will go as planned.

Holland saw his scheduled rehab start Sunday in Las Vegas scratched due to back spasms and didn't make the trip.

"I'll take whatever they give me," Holland said. "If it's taking one more rehab, I'm here for whatever they need."

There's an open spot in the Rangers' rotation Friday in Houston, and manager Ron Washington hasn't settled on a starter yet with pitching coach Mike Maddux. Instead of moving Holland into that slot, the Rangers will let him make one more rehab outing, then bring him to the big club when rosters expand in September.

Washington said he definitely would look at Scott Baker, Sunday's starter against the Kansas City Royals, for that Houston game. Baker earned his second win of the season -- and first as a starter since 2011 -- with five innings of work in a 3-1 victory.

Baker became a spot starter with the club in the absence of Yu Darvish, on the 15-day disabled list with elbow trouble. Baker allowed one run on five hits while throwing 71 pitches.

"Whether I'm a starter or reliever, it's about executing pitches," Baker said.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Royals 1

August, 24, 2014
Aug 24
5:10
PM CT
ARLINGTON -- Scott Baker was asked to do just enough.

The requirements of Baker weren't to throw a complete game or get to the late innings. Pitch for as long as you can within the confines of 70 pitches.

Baker, the emergency starter, accomplished it in leading the Texas Rangers past the Kansas City Royals, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon.

There is some uncertainty in the rotation with Yu Darvish nursing a balky right elbow and Derek Holland nearing a return after five rehab starts. The Rangers have three young kids and Colby Lewis pitching and Baker fills in when he can.

He held the Royals to just one run, a Billy Butler homer in the fourth, on five hits to earn his second win of the season and first as a starter.

Baker had this funny stat, well depending on your point of view, associated with his name. Earlier this month the Rangers had been 0-20 in games he pitched. Now when you’re the long reliever entering games in which your team trails and an emergency starter, with this offense you won't get many chances for come-from-behind victories.

Baker won a game in relief Aug. 12 vs. Tampa Bay to end the spell. He's on a two-game win streak now thanks to a gritty effort that ended a two-game losing streak.

How it happened: It started early as Adrian Beltre doubled home Daniel Robertson with the first run. In the second inning, Adam Rosales doubled home Leonys Martin and Robinson Chirinos singled in Alex Rios for a 3-0 lead after three innings of work.

The Rangers' subs, Rosales for Beltre at third and Chirinos for Geovany Soto (who was traded before the game) at catcher were the stars of the game from the plate.

Of course, Baker did his part to make everything hold before the bullpen secured the victory with four innings of work.

The homestand: This was a brief homestand, three games, and the Rangers salvaged something of it by winning on Sunday. The Rangers are now 12-26-4 in 42 total series and are 0-4-1 in the last five. Winning at home seems like a burden for the Rangers, who are 24-40 at Globe Life Park and just 2-12-3 in the last 17 home series.

Chirinos takes over: When Soto was traded to Oakland for cash considerations, it meant Chirinos would take over. In four at-bats, Chirinos reached base three times, twice on singles, and he drove in the third run of the game. He was in quite a slump of late with just three hits in his last 27 at-bats. But now with Soto gone, Chirinos becomes the full-time catcher again.

Martin starts vs. LHP: Manager Ron Washington wants Martin to earn the right to start against left-handed starters. On the season, Martin has a slash line of .202/.233/.232 against lefties. Sunday he started and reached on a bunt single and flew out to left in three at-bats against Jason Vargas.

What’s next?: The Rangers open a three-game series Monday night at Seattle. RHP Miles Mikolas (1-5, 7.48) and LHP Roenis Elias (9-10, 4.09) get it going.

Derek Holland scratched from rehab start

August, 23, 2014
Aug 23
5:35
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Just when he was so close, Rangers left-handed starter Derek Holland suffered a setback in his return to the majors when he was scratched from his scheduled rehab start Sunday with back spasms.

Holland was supposed to make his sixth and final rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock against Las Vegas.

Team officials say Holland will remain in Dallas to get rehab for his back. He's missed the entire season while recovering from left knee surgery and was nearing the end of his 30-day rehab stint when the spasms started.

"Just back spasms," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Just got to see how long it takes. He's supposed to throw Sunday and (we'll) see how long it takes (to recover). If the doctor gives him clearance, he’ll be able to still get a start. If not, then it will just have to adjust, just go day-to-day and see."

Washington was noncommittal whether Holland would get another rehab start or just get called to the big club at the end of next week when he's eligible to return from rehab. Players have 30 days to get called to the majors after they start a rehab assignment and Holland will hit 30 days late next week.

Regardless if Holland makes a rehab start next week, Washington said the lefty is part of the discussion to pitch this season if he recovers from the back issue.

"Derek's been discussed about September," Washington said. "We haven’t locked anything down yet, but he's in the discussion. We'll make that decision here soon."

Baker to start Sunday: Scott Baker will get the start Sunday in the finale of this three-game set with the Royals. Baker hasn't pitched since Aug. 12 when he earned the win against Tampa Bay in relief. Baker has a 2.08 ERA in his last seven relief appearances. As a starter, Baker is 0-3 with a 6.97 ERA this season.

Washington said the team won't bring in another long reliever because the club has some well-rested pitchers.

Potential call-ups: LHP Robbie Ross and LF Michael Choice remain with Round Rock and could become September call-ups. Ross was called up Aug. 14 and suffered a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay. He allowed six runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. He was sent back to Round Rock the next day. In his first start after being sent down, Ross earned a win Wednesday, pitching eight strong innings where he allowed two earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. Ross is 5-4 with a 4.69 ERA in Triple-A.

"He's still progressing, still progressing," Washington said. "Robbie is doing OK down there."

Choice, an Arlington native who started the season with the Rangers, hit just .177 in 69 games before he was sent down. In 40 games for Round Rock, Choice has a slash line of .262/.371/.454.

Pregame notes: Holland aching to return

August, 22, 2014
Aug 22
5:55
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers left-handed starter Derek Holland will throw his final rehab session Sunday for Triple-A Round Rock in Las Vegas.

Holland is working his way back from left knee surgery and has not pitched for the Rangers this season. He's made five rehab starts between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco, throwing 14 2/3 innings and allowing seven earned runs with eight walks and 22 strikeouts.

"I'm excited and I want to be back and competing with these guys," said Holland, who is eligible to return next Friday. "I don't care how bad we're doing or how good we're doing. I want to be part of that team."

In his last rehab outing Tuesday for Round Rock, Holland threw five innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

"To me it's one of my best [starts], even though the stats might not be what I wanted," Holland said. "I'm just working on stuff. It's like spring training. I don't get caught up in results, there's no need to do that."

Pitching plans: Long reliever/starter Scott Baker is tentatively scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Royals. Baker (1-3, 5.75 ERA) earned his first victory of the season Aug. 12 against Tampa Bay. That victory ended a 0-20 spell for the Rangers in games that Baker has pitched in with the club. In his last seven relief appearances, Baker has a 2.08 ERA.

Nick Tepesch is scheduled to pitch Saturday night against the Royals. The Rangers could have moved Miles Mikolas to Sunday, but the team wants him to go Monday when they visit Seattle.

"If this weekend goes pretty good, we got Baker [for Sunday]," manager Ron Washington said. "If we have to use Baker [in relief beforehand], we have to make an adjustment."

Could the Rangers make a surprise move and skip Holland's start in Vegas and move him to Sunday?

"Right now, he's pitching in Las Vegas," Washington said. "We'll see how we'll get through the next two days against the Royals and we'll know who will be pitching Sunday."

Odor gets day off: Second baseman Rougned Odor was given Friday night off, his first break since Aug. 10 at Houston. Odor has just five hits in his last 26 at-bats to see his average fall to .255.

"You could see he's a little tired," said Washington, who added that he wanted to "give him a couple of days" off.

Odor is tied for second among American League rookies and tied for eighth overall in the AL with five triples. It's the most triples by a Rangers rookie since Elvis Andrus had eight in 2009.

Scott Baker gets first win since 2011

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
12:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas – It’s been a long time since Texas Rangers reliever Scott Baker tallied his last win.

But Baker was all smiles early Wednesday morning after not only getting his first victory of the season in Tuesday's 3-2, 14-inning triumph over the Tampa Bay Rays, but his first win since July 23, 2011 when he was with the Minnesota Twins.

Baker, who missed the 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, also put an end to another rather inauspicious record. The Rangers had been 0-20 in games Baker had appeared in.

“I guess in a way, it’s just a stat,” Baker said. “Regardless if I get a win as a reliever or a starter, to win a game in the big leagues means something. So I’m very happy, obviously. At the same time, it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time sometimes, and I think that was the case tonight.”

Baker was part of a Rangers bullpen that logged seven innings after starter Nick Tepesch was pulled after seven solid innings of work and 102 pitches. Baker came on in the 13th and allowed just one hit in his two innings, a one-out double to Evan Longoria in the 14th.

The Rangers won in the bottom of the inning when Adam Rosales drew a two-out bases loaded walk.

“You just can’t prepare for what you’re going to do that day,” Baker said of his life as a long reliever. “Each day dictates (something different) and it dictates what role you’re going to be in, and as far as me throwing (Monday, where he threw 17 pitches in one inning), I still felt good to throw multiple innings, and I was out there until they wouldn’t allow me out there to pitch anymore.”

Extra Bases: Tepesch tries to build

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
9:45
AM CT
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.
NEW YORK -- In Tuesday's 14-inning loss, manager Ron Washington used all seven relief pitchers and was left to summon Friday’s scheduled starter, Nick Tepesch, in the last inning. Washington said Roman Mendez, who threw 34 pitches Tuesday, would be unavailable for Wednesday’s game and that lefty Ryan Feierabend (20 pitches Tuesday) might not be an option either.

Feierabend, a starter in the minors, hasn’t pitched full-time out of the bullpen since his days in Seattle. Feierabend said he might need an extra day before pitching again. If that’s the case, it leaves Washington just one left-hander in the bullpen: Neal Cotts.

Washington's use of the bullpen Tuesday night was the subject of some second-guessing.

Washington inserted Scott Baker in the 13th in relief of Feierabend instead of closer Joakim Soria. The thinking is should Washington have replaced Feierabend with Soria, and if the game -- which was tied at the time of the switch -- remained that way, he would have Baker available for at least two or maybe three innings.

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead on a J.P. Arencibia home run in the 13th. Soria blew the save and Washington used Tepesh in bottom of the inning 14th, and he ended up losing it.

“Last night I was trying to hold onto my closer,” Washington said. “I got to the position I wanted to get into to. He don’t always get an opportunity to come in with a two-run lead or a three-run lead. He saves one-run games too. I feel like I worked it to the best of my ability and got the guy in the game at the time I needed him in the game and it didn’t get done.”

Martin's catch: CF Leonys Martin said he loves playing in Yankee Stadium because of its expansive gaps -- 399 in left-center and 385 in right-center and 408 feet to dead center. Martin made a leaping catch of a Brian McCann drive against the wall in Tuesday’s game. Martin crashed into the wall, lost the ball momentary and then was able to snag it out of the air.

Washington thought Martin misjudged where he was along the warning track and probably didn’t need to make a leaping catch.

“I saw the ball and I didn’t know the wall was there,” Martin said. “I was running hard to get the ball and the wall is there, and you see what happened.”

In the 12th inning of Tuesday’s game, a popup by McCann fell with three fielders near it in shallow left center. Elvis Andrus backed off the play and said he thought he heard somebody yell, “I got it!”

“Confusion, man,” Martin said of the play. “We need better communication. We need to make those plays in those situations.”

Base Hits: Despite using his bullpen for an extended period on Tuesday, Washington said the club won’t bring up anyone from the minors. ... LF Jake Smolinski (bruised left foot) was scheduled for a full workout prior to Wednesday’s game and could play Thursday. ... Washington said Tepesch is still on target to start Friday. Tepesch threw 12 pitches in 1/3 of an inning while taking the loss Tuesday. ... The Rangers have allowed just four runs in the last 22 1/3 innings in the first two games of this series, lowering the team ERA to 4.85, it's lowest since July 9 (4.82).

Getting starters to pitch deeper a priority

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
7:17
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- High on the Texas Rangers’ second-half agenda is getting starting pitchers to go deeper into games.

Spot starter Scott Baker gave the Rangers only four innings in Sunday’s 10-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

If one of the team’s five starters has a short outing, a solid bullpen could possibly make up the extra innings. But when all the starters fail to go less than seven innings -- as has been the case in an eight-game Texas losing streak -- the bullpen becomes overly taxed.

“We have to figure out a way to get our starting pitches to go deeper in ballgames,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington said afterward. “Get ahead and make pitches. That’s what they have to do.’’

Because, as Washington points out, in the American League there are many quality hitters that “every time you make a mistake, they make you pay.’’

Over the four-day All-Star break, Washington’s message is for the players to enjoy themselves, get away and then get ready to go in the second half.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus, encouraged by the Rangers' more aggressive play in the Angels series, expects a much better second half from the team.

“The whole team needs a break to clear our mind and enjoy family time,’’ Andrus said. “Then come back for the second half. After three or four days, we’ll realize we can come back and play the right way. I know we can play a lot better. I believe in myself and in my teammates.’’

Mikolas can't limit damage in defeat

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
11:17
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers played some great defense behind Miles Mikolas.

And that's a big reason why the 25-year-old right-hander wore a long face in the clubhouse after the Rangers' 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"When guys are giving it up for me with everything they have, it makes this hurt worse," Mikolas said.

[+] EnlargeMiles Mikolas
Rick Yeatts/Getty ImagesMiles Mikolas was upset at himself for not being able to keep the Rangers in the game after he pitched five strong innings.
Left fielder Jake Smolinski, for example, made two diving catches that could end up on the season highlight reel.

For five innings, Mikolas limited the dangerous Angels lineup to four hits and an unearned run.

"It was kind of like my first start in Baltimore," Mikolas said. "Five strong innings, but they don't cut the line off there. I've got to do a better job. I wasn't tired."

His pitch count was only at 84 when he departed.

In Baltimore, Mikolas was relieved with one out in the sixth and the Rangers leading 4-1. He gave up only three hits, but left with runners on base. Both eventually scored and he was charged with three runs.

Mikolas' low pitch count influenced Rangers manager Ron Washington to stay with him this time in the sixth.

"Miles did a good job today," Washington said. "He was facing pretty good hitters, give them credit. But he's got to figure out a way to limit the damage. We can't rely on four innings from the bullpen all the time."

The Rangers were clinging to a 2-1 lead when Albert Pujols opened the Angels' sixth with a single to right. With the Rangers' infield in at double-play depth, Josh Hamilton's looper cleared Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor for another single.

"Those were two changeups that I got up," Mikolas said. "If the ball is down to Hamilton, maybe he hits into a double play."

Howie Kendrick and David Freese had RBI hits. Hank Conger broke it open with a two-run double. Washington went to his bullpen when Mikolas walked Collin Cowgill.

Ending the losing streak, now at seven games, is on the minds of all the pitchers. Mikolas is no exception.

"Every pitcher wants to be the guy to get that win," Mikolas said.

Not so clutch: The Rangers were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. That comes after going 0-for-6 on Friday.

"Tonight we had several chances to drive in a run and we didn't do it," Washington said.

Odor, the 20-year-old rookie, produced the only hit with a runner in scoring position, an RBI double in the second inning.

Soto apology: Rangers catcher Geovany Soto apologized to his teammates in a team meeting before Saturday's game. Soto was arrested Wednesday night on a charge of marijuana possession in Grapevine.

Sunday's starter: The Rangers announced after the game that right-hander Scott Baker (0-2, 5.84 ERA) will start in Sunday's 2:05 p.m. CT game against the Angels at Globe Life Park. It will be his fourth start of the season. He is 0-2 with a 5.94 ERA as a starter.

Baker allows bullpen needed relief

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
12:16
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ron Washington values the contributions of long reliever Scott Baker.

Not a glamorous role, for sure, because when the call goes out for Baker to get loose, it’s a pretty good bet that things aren’t going the Rangers’ way.

[+] EnlargeScott Baker
Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY SportsScott Baker, pictured here in a game against the Orioles, has done his part as an inning-eater, providing the fatigued Rangers bullpen some much-needed relief.
In Monday’s 12-7 loss to the Houston Astros, Baker did his job as an inning-eater. He came on in the sixth and left with one out in the ninth on a warm night, finishing with 57 pitches of which 31 were strikes.

"He saved the bullpen," said Washington, the Texas Rangers manager. "I can’t say enough about Baker. That’s what we needed to keep the other guys fresh for the rest of the series. He’s done it for us all season."

Washington tried to reduce Baker’s workload by making Shawn Tolleson the first man out of the bullpen on Monday when starter Miles Mikolas couldn't make it out of the fourth. Tolleson retired five of six batters he faced.

"I tried not to bring Baker in too early," the manager said.

Rangers relievers saw heavy action and showed signs of weariness on the team’s 1-6 road trip that ended in Sunday’s 8-4 loss to the Mets.

Baker said he is aware that his job is to save the bullpen so that it is ready for the next day.

"First and foremost, you have to accept that you won’t be coming into the best situation," said Baker, a 32-year-old native of Shreveport, Louisiana. "It’s tough for me because I can’t get into a routine. I’m coming from a starter’s role when everything was pretty much according to plan."

Baker was touched for a home run by Alex Presley in the sixth. Houston nicked him for two more in the eighth. The Rangers weren’t able to mount a comeback against Astros relievers while he was in the game.

Said Baker: "I just do the best I can. I’ve got to be ready when they need me."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.12 123 158
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .323
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 71
RA. Beltre 75
OPSA. Beltre .876
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182