Rangers right-hander Nick Tepesch credits the detailed scouting reports he receives from pitching coach Mike Maddux for the progress he’s made on the mound in 2014.
But more than that, Tepesch said Maddux has helped him realize where the outs are in each inning.
“Not necessarily against a [specific] lineup but for me personally, how I get a right-handed hitter out, how I get a left-handed hitter out,” Tepesch said. “He’s unbelievable with his scouting reports and how to attack a lineup.”
Tepesch, who held Tampa Bay to two runs in seven innings on Tuesday, has been solid in his last three starts, allowing a combined five runs over his last 18 2/3 innings.
“It’s something to build off of and learn from and go back and look at what I did well and try to take that into the next one,” he said. “It’s a matter of trying to apply it for each start.”
Tepesch said he made two “fairly decent pitches” in the sixth when the Rays tripled twice and scored their two runs.
“Personally, it wasn’t a struggle for me. I felt like I made two fairly decent pitches that they made good swings on,” he said. “That stuff’s going to happen. You’re going to get beat sometimes.”
But he responded with a 1-2-3 seventh and felt prepared to pitch the eighth before letting Neal Cotts take over.
“That was a big step, too, just getting those three outs in the seventh and leaving only two innings for the bullpen, theoretically,” said Tepesch, of the 14-inning game. He threw 102 pitches, the most since throwing 106 in 7 1/3 innings on June 27. He threw a career-high 112 pitches in 6 1/3 in his second start this season on May 21.
“In that situation, I definitely think it was the right call,” he said.
Injured infielder Jurickson Profar, who has been out the entire season with a right shoulder muscle strain, took grounders Tuesday and will start a throwing program on Thursday.
During fielding work, Profar has been under-handing his throws.
Outfielder Alex Rios returned to the lineup Wednesday as a designated hitter. Manager Ron Washington said he’ll see how Rios handles playing on a sore right ankle before determining whether he is ready to play right field again.
Rios might alternate with Shin-Soo Choo in right and DH. Choo has been playing with a sore left ankle much of the season.
Don’t look back
Choo was thrown out at home in the seventh inning Tuesday trying to score from second. Washington said Choo didn’t get a good jump off the bag and then made it worse by looking back for the ball instead of remaining focused on third base coach Gary Pettis.
Plus, Washington pointed out, Elvis Andrus’ hit was on the ground to the right side so Choo should have been on the move immediately.
“That ball rolled through the infield,” Washington said. “He looked back and that took away from it. It was a ground ball to the right side so you’re taking off anyway.”
“It’s been a tough season for all the guys. Even the guys who are performing well. If the team is not doing well, it still kind of casts a shadow over what you might be doing personally.” — Relief pitcher Scott Baker, who earned his first win as a Ranger on Tuesday