Manager Jeff Banister said that the Texas Rangers are looking at all internal options as they consider remedies for their struggling bullpen, including moving starting pitchers in the minor leagues into relief roles.
Pitchers on the 40-man roster who fit that mold are left-hander Yohander Mendez and right-handers Connor Sadzeck, Eddie Gamboa and Anthony Bass. Bass has twice been in the Rangers’ bullpen this season, but his last three outings have been as a starter at Triple A Round Rock.
The Rangers, who have been outscored 38-20 in the seventh inning and have lost eight times after leading through six innings, are also expecting a boost when Jose Leclerc (finger) returns.
For now, as it was three weeks ago, the best options in the organization are already in the bullpen.
“We’re looking at all our options,” Banister said. “I don’t feel bad about the bullpen. You’d like to see consistency. It comes down to them trusting that they’re going to make their pitches. All of them have the stuff, but the life of the bullpen is coming in and throwing strikes.”
A renewed focus on improving the bullpen comes after Sam Dyson melted down Wednesday in the seventh inning. He entered with one out and with runners at the corners to preserve a 3-1 lead, but he failed to retire any of the seven batters he faced.
Two reached on intentional walks, but Dyson said after word that he needed to throw better pitches to get the double-play grounder the Rangers were seeking.
The Rangers have three relievers — Matt Bush, Keone Kela and Alex Claudio — who have pitched consistently and are reliable. Austin Bibens-Dirkx might be about to join them.
Pitching coach Doug Brocail said that it’s evident some relievers are lacking confidence.
“The body language tells you everything,” he said. “Sitting there watching it, I feel like there are times we’re pitching not to get beat. ... You go out there and you’re confident and you attack the strike zone and you put the hitters on the defense, you get to walk around the mound a little bit more cocky.”