ARLINGTON — By any means necessary is how the Texas Rangers are fighting for their playoff lives. That includes reaching out to former teams for a little help.Closer Joe Nathan and reliever Jason Frasor each reached out to their former teams, which are facing the two teams the Rangers are battling in the American League wild-card race. Nathan, a longtime member of the Minnesota Twins, sent manager Ron Gardenhire a text message as the Twins are playing the Indians.“Let’s rally the troops,” Nathan told Gardenhire. “Let’s go. Get them riled up.”Nathan also told his agent, Dave Pepe, to pass along some encouragement when he visited one of his clients who is on the Twins.Frasor took a similar approach with a few of his former teammates with the Blue Jays, and it helped. Frasor spent the majority of his career with the Blue Jays, and is certainly happy to see them playing well against the Rays this weekend.Toronto has won the first two games of a three-game series, which has allowed Texas to pull even with Tampa Bay for the second wild card.No pressureYu Darvish said he doesn’t feel pressure when he’s on the mound. When does he feel the heat?“If I get caught cheating on my girlfriend,” Darvish said jokingly. “Other than that, no.”Darvish insists that he doesn’t let the size of the moment get to him, and so far he’s shown that in his young career. He allowed three runs (two earned) in 6 2/3 innings in last year’s wild-card game, and is now scheduled to pitch in another make-or-break game Sunday for the Rangers.Darvish has established himself as the team’s No. 1 pitcher, going 13-9 with a 2.82 ERA. He has pitched better since the All-Star break, too, posting a 2.55 ERA over 13 starts.But Darvish’s past two starts in which he went five innings and 5 1/3 innings have raised questions about his health. Darvish has acknowledged he’s dealing with something physically, although hasn’t specified it.Manager Ron Washington wouldn’t get into the specifics of Darvish’s issues, either, but said “it’s fair to say” that a pitcher is dealing with normal wear and tear of a 162-game season now compared to early in the season.Iron manTanner Scheppers has appeared in a team-high 74 games, but he has shown no signs of wearing down the stretch.Scheppers had a crisp seven-pitch eighth inning Saturday, his third consecutive appearance. He had a 12-pitch 1-2-3 inning Friday, and an eight-pitch inning Thursday.“The games are a lot of fun right now, so you kind of have a little more adrenaline going, so you don’t feel a whole lot when you actually get out there,” Scheppers said. “I think Wash did a great job managing me this year, and I got advice from the best guys [such as Joe Nathan] on how to take care of your body.”Briefly• Ron Washington didn’t know who would start at catcher Sunday. A.J. Pierzynski caught Saturday despite the short turnaround, although Geovany Soto has caught Yu Darvish’s last four starts.• First pitch Saturday was at 11:07 a.m., the earliest in Rangers Ballpark history. It’s also likely the earliest start ever in Arlington, but game times haven’t always been recorded, so it’s not a known fact.• The Rangers are the first team since 2010 with two players with at least 35 steals. Elvis Andrus has 41, while Leonys Martin has 36. The only other season the Rangers had two players with at least 35 steals was back in 1977 with Bump Wills (52) and Bobby Bonds (37).
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison