The Texas Rangers were facing a shortage of relievers after their 14-5 loss Monday, and they fixed it Tuesday by swapping out Tom Wilhelmsen for fellow right-hander Nick Martinez.
But the numbers crunch wasn’t the only reason Wilhelmsen was the choice to go to Triple A Round Rock. He has work to do after a miserable inning against the Oakland A’s extended his lousy season.
Wilhelmsen was tagged for six runs on nine hits while recording only three outs over the fourth and fifth innings. The outing left his ERA at 10.55. He entered the season with a 2.97 career ERA.
Manager Jeff Banister said that Wilhelmsen’s mechanics and velocity aren’t the issue. He’s stuck in a mental rut, and trying to do more has only made things worse.
“You could see it last night,” Banister said. “It was, ‘I’m going to try harder. I’m going to throw harder. I’m going to step on the gas more. I’m going to make a better breaking ball.’ It just doesn’t seem to work out.
“Now, it’s let’s back off a little bit. The man’s got a tremendous arm. He’s got two breaking balls. He’s got some swing-and-miss stuff. Let’s find a way to get back to where we can execute. I believe it comes down to executive with Tom, a belief in his stuff, being convicted.”
Martinez was scheduled to start Tuesday for Triple A Round Rock and could be the Rangers’ starter Saturday in St. Louis in Yu Darvish’s spot in the rotation. Cesar Ramos started Tuesday and is also a candidate for the start, as are Kyle Lohse and Connor Sadzeck from the minors.
Martinez last pitched Thursday, and the Rangers might be leery of sitting on him until Saturday without at least one relief appearance.
“If we don’t use him, then that’s nine days [down],” Banister said.