TORONTO -- The Rangers bullpen was pushed to the limit heading into Saturday's contest against the Blue Jays, throwing 20 1/3 innings over their previous four games, including 6 1/3 frames on Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Manager Ron Washington insisted this is a trend that must change immediately.
"We just got to get our starter to take us deep in the game," Washington said. "You take us deep in the game, our winning pieces are down there and we'll be able to maneuver. But if we have to jump into that bullpen early, of course it's going to affect us."
In Friday's 16-10 loss to the Jays, the bullpen was tagged for nine runs, eight off reliever Doug Mathis in just 1 1/3 innings, to raise the relief corps' combined ERA from 3.59 to 4.10. The nine runs allowed by the 'pen were the most they have surrendered since the Tigers plated 12 on September 17, 2008.
Although Washington said that everyone in the bullpen is available for Saturday's contest, he suggested that it is highly unlikely he will use reliever Dustin Nippert, who threw three innings on Friday. As for Chris Ray, who has pitched three times in the past five days, Washington said he will not hesitate to call upon him once more.
The mounting tired arms have also prompted the Rangers to make some roster moves, promoting right-handed relievers Guillermo Moscoso and Pedro Strop from Triple-A Oklahoma City, while optioning outfielder Craig Gentry and reliever Mathis.
Moscoso boasted a 2.95 ERA with 33 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings with Oklahoma City. Strop was equally as impressive, showcasing a 2.63 ERA with four saves in 13 2/3 frames.
The move came moments before game time, somewhat reminiscent of the Darren O'Day situation last season, when the right-hander showed up midway through an April 22nd game against, coincidentally enough, the Blue Jays, and pitched the 11th inning in an 8-7 losing effort. O'Day's arrival was so sudden, he had to don the jersey of former Rangers starter Kason Gabbard in a rush to get on the field.
Fortunately for Moscoso and Strop, they will have their own jerseys this time around.