ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are working with one less reliever than they're used to, but they might not need their bullpen as much with the way their rotation is working.
Yu Darvish threw eight innings in the Rangers' 6-2 win over the Astros on Friday, giving up two runs and tying a career high with 11 strikeouts while walking just two. That marks the third straight outing he has thrown at least 110 pitches. Joe Nathan threw a scoreless ninth inning to secure the victory.
"It's nice to see them going deep," Nathan said. "Right on down the line, we don't get too much work and guys aren't getting taxed and out there for multiple innings. Usually, the bullpen gets into a nice little rhythm when the starters are going like that."
Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison have also worked deep into games recently. Lewis has thrown 17 innings in his last two starts, including a complete-game four-hitter in his last outing during a 9-1 win over the D-backs on Tuesday.
"It just so happens that it's working out right now," Lewis said. "It's a good thing that we can go out and save arms when we can, especially in the middle of the season, and keep guys fresher if we need them at the back end, especially in August and September."
Harrison has turned in five consecutive quality starts, lasting at least seven innings in each of them. He tossed a five-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over the Giants on June 8.
"That's our job, to get deeper in the game," Harrison said. "We know we're not going to do it every time, but if we can be consistent with it, it definitely saves our bullpen. Hopefully we can keep maintaining it with all the guys on the DL right now. It'd be huge."