Foul Territory

August 11, 2014

Nick Tepesch looking to extend string of strong starts on Tuesday

The right-hander held the White Sox scoreless through 5 2/3 innings last week.

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Rangers’ right-hander Nick Tepesch goes for a third consecutive solid start on Tuesday. It would be another sign of improvement for Tepesch, who has yet to string more than two quality starts together in the majors.

He’s come close, including in his first three starts in 2014. He followed his 5 1/3, one-run on two hits season opener on May 14 with two quality starts but struggled with consistency for much of June and July.

Tepesch held the White Sox scoreless threw 5 2/3 innings in a win last week. When he got in trouble, he was able to make the pitches he needed to make and forced three double-play balls.

“The biggest thing was guys leading off an inning with a hit and then I came back and answered with a ground ball and the defense turned a double play,” he said. “In that situation that’s Plan A. It was just a matter of command and throwing all my pitches for strikes.”

In the 14 games before the All-Star break, the Rangers’ staff made just two quality starts. Since July 19, they’ve combined for 10 quality starts, plus five other solid ones in 22 games. Rangers’ manager Ron Washington said his pitchers, especially the younger ones such as Tepesch, are “grinding a lot better mentally.”

“They’ve improved a lot,” Washington said. “We might not see the results in the physical part of it, but in the mental side of it they’ve improved. They have a better understanding of what they want to go out and do.”

And watching fellow pitchers have success has a way of rubbing off on teammates.

“I don’t really know one thing to put it on it’s just maybe watching each other go out there and be successful and doing our things,” Tepesch said. “That maybe gives everybody else some confidence. Also, Tepesch refrains from thinking too far down the road.

“I feel like if you can do that it’s going to make it a lot easier on you mentally and you’re not worrying about what’s happened or what’s going to happen,” he said. “You’re worried about right now.”

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