The Rangers bullpen doesn’t look like the same unit it did several weeks ago.
Not only are there different faces now in the mix, including Sam Freeman, Ross Ohlendorf and Tanner Scheppers, but they’re becoming a reliable part of the team instead of a liability.
That’s good, because no bullpen in the major leagues has thrown more innings (158) than the Rangers entering Tuesday’s game against the Indians.
The seven inings of relief in Monday’s win is the bullpen’s most since going 71/3 on April 15. They’ve allowed one run in the past 10 innings and have a 2.30 ERA in the past eight games.
“It’s an attitude and a challenge that was given to all of them,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “They’ve taken it to heart. It’s an effort to put a zero on the board.”
Part of their success, Banister said, is that each has concentrated on doing what they do well, instead of trying to be a “complete pitcher out of the bullpen.”
“Right now it’s fun to watch,” he said.
Freeman, who attended Hebron High School, hasn’t allowed a hit in his last two appearances.
“Can’t say enough,” Banister said. “Watching him grow up, the confidence he continues to gain every outing.”
Freeman has made six appearances since getting the call from Triple A Round Rock on May 13. Freeman pitched in 44 games with the Cardinals in 2014, so he has experience. But with each outing as a Ranger, he’s becoming more comfortable.
“It definitely helps with your confidence knowing you had success in those moments before and gives me the confidence to believe in myself and know that I can do it again,” Freeman said.
At the top of the printed Rangers lineup before each game, there’s usually a motivational quote, along with the team’s logo and the World Series trophy.
Tuesday’s quote, origin unknown: “While you’re celebrating success, someone is laying plans to move past you.”
Banister and his staff take turns choosing quotes.
“We have a lot of creative people around here who believe in motivation,” he said.
▪ Monday afternoon’s Rangers game with Josh Hamilton’s debut scored the highest broadcast rating of the season with a 4.3. It’s the highest-rated Rangers Fox Sports Southwest broadcast since April 27, 2014 at Seattle, which drew a 4.6 rating.
▪ Left-hander Ross Detwiler (shoulder soreness) felt good after throwing a bullpen session Tuesday afternoon in Cleveland. He’ll evaluate how it feels on Wednesday. He’s been on the disabled list since May 17.
1,000 Career hits for Elvis Andrus, who hit the milestone with a third-inning double on Monday. He’s the 11th Rangers player to reach the mark. Andrus singled in the fourth inning Tuesday to extend his hitting streak in Cleveland to 27 consecutive games.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760