New-look bullpen delivers for Rangers
No roles seemed to agree with the Texas Rangers bullpen for at least a day.
After meeting with Texas manager Jeff Banister before the game and finding out that no one has defined jobs, the Rangers relievers went out and posted four scoreless innings in support of Nick Martinez in a 5-1 victory over Cleveland.
Two of the three relievers getting the job done Sunday began their day in Colorado Springs as right-handers Tanner Scheppers and Ross Ohlendorf were brought in from Round Rock to try and bolster a leaky relief corps.
It’s going to have to be that way for now.
"We’re going to continue to do anything we can to put W’s on the board," Banister said. "I brought all of our guys in and told each one of them individually and collectively that right now as we sit nobody has a specific role, that we are going to find what is the best match for the bullpen for this ballclub and what it looks like and we’re going to continue to look at the hitters that are coming up each inning and find out what’s the best fit for the best matchup with the best arm we have out there at any given time."
Sunday that meant an inning from Ohlendorf after Nick Martinez went five innings. Scheppers followed with two scoreless innings and then Tolleson, who hasn’t allowed a run in his last five outings, closed the game with a one-hit ninth inning.
While four scoreless innings won’t make a season, it’s a start for a bullpen that had allowed 33 runs in 47 1/3 innings of May work coming into the game.
"We just kind of have to always be ready," said Tolleson. "He (Banister) kind of mentioned there’s not going to be any roles, we just have to piece it together the best we can until we get back on track and get things rolling again down there. Today things went really well."
While Martinez (3-0) allowed just one run in his five innings, he also gave up five hits and walked five. He was helped out by some early run support as an early following a Mitch Moreland double scored a run in the second and Prince Fielder made it a 2-0 game with a single in the third.
Martinez worked out of a big jam in the fifth and after giving way to the bullpen got some breathing room towards win No. 3 when Moreland drilled a two-run homer to center in the sixth.
By that time Ohlendorf had posted a scoreless frame and Scheppers was having his best outing with the Rangers this season, needing just 18 pitches to retire six-straight batters.
While a bullpen without defined roles is unconventional, it’s not something that fazed the Texas pitchers Sunday.
"As a bullpen guy you’ve got to be ready for anything," said Scheppers. "You just kind of pitch until the manager shakes your hand. As a bullpen, you’re a unit as it is. We’re going to live and die together. Right now we’re staffing it and that’s the way it’s going to be."
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