ANAHEIM -- Closer Joe Nathan was not needed during the Rangers' three-game sweep of the Mariners over the weekend and went into Monday's game having not pitched in the previous five days.
The Rangers probably need to get him in a game soon. In his career, Nathan has a 2.13 ERA with a .175 opponents' average when working as a reliever on three to five days' rest. But when he sits for six or more games, his ERA jumps to 3.51 with a .246 opponents' average.
"I think it's no surprise and no secret that most guys out of the bullpen like consistent work," Nathan said. "Anytime you don't get in there for a while, you just try not to lose the feel you have. But this is not the first time I've been through a drought like this."
The extra rest might help him regain some velocity. His fastball has been averaging 91.1 mph this season. That's down from 94 over the course of last season, but he still has a 1.42 ERA, opponents are hitting .208 against him and he is 5-for-5 in save opportunities.
"Honestly my velocity has been down but I have been effective with other stuff," Nathan said. "As long as I'm getting guys out, that's the name of the game. You don't have to throw 100 miles per hour to get guys out. If your velocity is down you get more movement and I've been using my sinker more and my breaking ball has really come into play."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less