Texas Rangers' rotation trying to get back on track

Posted Thursday, Aug. 09, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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Matt Harrison tried to pitch through a stomach virus Wednesday and lasted less than five innings. Derek Holland called his last couple of starts "garbage." Yu Darvish wants to get back to being the pitcher he was in Japan.

The Texas Rangers' rotation is going through a rough stretch, to say the least, posting a 7.35 ERA over the past 10 games.

But manager Ron Washington doesn't believe fatigue is a factor and didn't plan to use Thursday's off day to skip a starter this time through the rotation.

"I see the same thing everybody else sees -- making bad pitches here and there," Washington said. "We got a gut-check right now. A lot of people are dragging, but a lot of people are getting it done too."

Scott Feldman is at the top of that list. He has been the best starter for the past month, going 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in his past three starts. Ryan Dempster pitched well in his last start Tuesday after a shaky debut.

Feldman and Dempster are the two guys who least likely need a break. They have softened the blow of losing Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz to season-ending injuries.

Still, skipping a starter at this point is something Washington has done in the past, but this season has unfolded differently than last year when the Rangers went all season with the rotation intact.

Darvish and Harrison received extended rest built around the All-Star break and Holland spent a month on the disabled list. Feldman, meanwhile, had a limited workload as a reliever early in the season, while Dempster had two DL stints with the Cubs.

"Where we are in the season, we aren't in position to give guys time off unless it's necessary," Washington said. "We're trying to win a pennant. It's just not easy to back one guy out because you put pressure on everybody else.

"It's something you really, really have to consider what it does to everybody else's load. We want everybody carrying their own load."

The heavy lifting starts tonight, as the Rangers begin a 20-game, 20-day stretch with a three-game home series against the Detroit Tigers.

Feldman starts tonight and has been one of the surprises of the season. He's become the starter the Rangers thought they were getting when they signed Roy Oswalt, who has been exiled to the bullpen.

"The biggest thing for me is getting on more of a routine," Feldman said. "I'm just looking to execute my pitches and finish out the season strong."

Dempster was acquired at the trade deadline. He was among the top National League starters in ERA and opponents' batting average allowed. However, Dempster doesn't feel pressure to become the Rangers ace.

"They have such a good team that I just try to fit in and do my job," Dempster said. "I take a lot of pride in how I prepare for every fifth day. Hopefully I can be somebody they can count on every fifth day."

Holland and Darvish fit that role early in the season, but have been reeling of late. In their past five starts, Holland has a 5.45 ERA and Darvish is at 7.76. Both believe they can get back on track, though, and be forces down the stretch.

"I haven't been pleased with my past performances, but I feel everything is going to change," Holland said. "I'm just a couple of pitches off. That's it. Once that falls in and clicks, I'll be off and running."

Ragged rotation

The Rangers' rotation has given up 53 runs (49 earned) in a 60 innings over the past 10 games:

Starter

Date

Opp

IP

R/ER

Oswalt

7-30

LAA

5 1/3

8/8

Holland

7-31

LAA

6 2/3

6/6

Darvish

8-1

LAA

5

7/7

Dempster

8-2

LAA

4 2/3

8/8

Harrison

8-3

KC

6 2/3

2/2

Feldman

8-4

KC

7 2/3

2/2

Holland

8-5

KC

6

6/6

Darvish

8-6

BOS

6 2/3

6/6

Dempster

8-7

BOS

6 2/3

3/0

Harrison

8-8

BOS

4 2/3

5/4

Nadel to Hall

It's Hall of Fame weekend at Rangers Ballpark, as veteran radio broadcaster Eric Nadel will be inducted into the team's Hall on Saturday.

The Rangers' 40th anniversary all-time team will make an appearance. Former players on the all-time team will hold an autograph session for fans from 5-5:45 p.m. Saturday on the third-base concourse.

Tonight the Rangers are giving away a 40th anniversary team poster to the first 40,000 fans.

Briefly

The Rangers' minor league award winners for July were right-hander C.J. Edwards as pitcher of the month, infielder Alejandro Selen as player of the month, infielder Rougned Odor as defender of the month and right-hander Ben Rowen as reliever of the month.

MLB announced its 2012 postseason schedule. The inaugural two wild card games will be played Oct. 5. Two division series, featuring the non-wild card winners, begin Oct. 6, while the other two start Oct. 7. This year only, the "home" team in the division series will open with two games on the road followed by three home games. Next year, the division series returns to the 2-2-1 format. The ALCS begins Oct. 13 and the NLCS on Oct. 14. The World Series begins Oct. 24. A potential Game 7 would be played Nov. 1.

Drew Davison

817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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