ARLINGTON -- John Rheinecker gave the Rangers a quality start on Saturday, meaning he pitched six innings and allowed three runs. His manager responded to the effort by referring to Rheinecker as "a warrior." The quality start and the high compliment didn't do Rheinecker much good. He still lost the game and he is still being sent to the bullpen.
The Rangers may have received a quality start from their starter, but the Devil Rays got a shutout from theirs. Edwin Jackson out-pitched Rheinecker by holding the Rangers scoreless on four hits and a walk in the Devil Rays' 3-0 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The shutout was the first for the Devil Rays and the seventh pitched against the Rangers this season. "He just over-powered us," manager Ron Washington said. The quality start was just the 40th in 116 games by a Rangers starter this season. That's the fewest by a pitching staff in the Major Leagues. The Rangers are 25-15 when getting a quality start and 25-51 when they don't. Two of Rheinecker's five starts have been classified as quality but Saturday's outing left him 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA. "He gave up a couple runs but he stayed out there and fought," Washington said. "It might have been a different story, but he showed a lot of heart." Rheinecker's next outing will be in the bullpen. Both Vicente Padilla and Kameron Loe are expected to come off the disabled list this coming week and that will leave no room in the rotation for Rheinecker. "We brought him up when we had injuries," Washington said. "Now that we've got guys coming back from injuries, he's going to the bullpen." The Rangers are planning on starting Padilla on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals and Loe on Saturday against the Minnesota Twins. "Wherever I can help out," Rheinecker said. "I'm trying to find a piece of the puzzle where I can fit in. I'm going to go out and battle. I'm not going to give up." Rheinecker may have finished with a quality start, but it didn't start out that way. Delmon Young had an RBI double in the first and Greg Norton had another one in the second that gave the Devil Rays a 2-0 lead. That's normally not a big obstacle against a team that has the highest ERA in the Major Leagues, and against a pitcher who brought a 6.35 ERA into Saturday's game. But Jackson retired the first 10 batters he faced and just never relaxed his grip on the Rangers from beginning to end. "He was tough," Rangers shortstop Michael Young said. "I don't think he walked anybody [until the ninth] and he got ahead in the count to a lot of hitters. He had everything going. He was throwing hard and kept his pitch count low." The Rangers honored former outfielder Rusty Greer before the game but really needed him in the lineup. Young, Brad Wilkerson and Ramon Vazquez were the only three players in their lineup with more than three years of Major League service time. David Murphy, making his first start in center field, picked up his first hit for the Rangers with a sixth-inning double, but that was their only noteworthy offensive achievement of the night. The Rangers are hitting .261 with a .378 slugging percentage and averaging 4.4 runs per game for the month of August. "We've got some guys feeling their way and some guys who are unsure," Washington said. "We have some guys who are going to swing and miss a lot. As soon as we see some pitchers make some mistakes we might do some damage. We have to keep battling. That's all we can do."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.