05/23/12 3:08 PM ET
Grueling 20-day stretch reaches end for Texas
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Harrison helps keep Rangers' bullpen fresh
SEATTLE -- The Rangers went into Wednesday's game with a fully rested bullpen to back up pitcher Scott Feldman. Manager Ron Washington credited Matt Harrison with that.Harrison threw 35 pitches in the first inning on Tuesday night and was in danger of a short outing. That would have been trouble after Yu Darvish pitched four innings on Monday. But Harrison responded with six scoreless innings after the first and the Rangers didn't have to tax their bullpen again. "It was huge," Washington said. "Every pitcher we have is available after Feldman." Washington even sent Harrison out for the eighth inning. Harrison was hoping to reward the manager's confidence by pitching one more scoreless inning but gave up leadoff singles to Alex Liddi and Ichiro Suzuki. That forced Washington to bring in Mike Adams, but Harrison had done enough. "Ultimately every starter wants to go deep in the game," Harrison said. "I knew I had to get deep in that game. The first inning was tough, but after that I was able to settle in and pound the strike zone. That's always big when you can save the bullpen for another day." Harrison, who is averaging just more than six innings per start, still admitted to being disappointed that he didn't get through the eighth after Washington sent him back out there. "I hate that I didn't get it done," Harrison said. "He definitely gave me the opportunity to get through another inning. Fortunately, Adams came in and shut it down. I definitely want to go seven or eight innings. They call six innings a quality start, but I don't want to be average. I want to be one of the best pitchers in the league and I want to take the ball into the eighth and ninth inning a lot." Harrison now has a 1.26 ERA in four starts at Safeco Field. That's the second lowest for any pitcher with a minimum of four starts since the park opened in 1999.
Rangers searching for offense from catchers
SEATTLE -- Rangers catchers are still searching for the offensive level they reached in 2011. Last year, they hit a combined .299 with a .500 slugging percentage and an .854 OPS, all the highest for their position in the American League.They went into Wednesday's game with the Mariners hitting .239 with a .687 OPS, both the ninth best in the AL. They were 10th with a .359 slugging percentage. Mike Napoli, who was off on Wednesday, is hitting .205 with a .274 slugging percentage, no home runs and four RBIs in his last 22 games. He has struck out 28 times in his last 73 at-bats. Yorvit Torrealba, who made his 11th start behind the plate on Wednesday, went into the game hitting .161 (5-for-31) in his last 11 games with no home runs and one RBI. He had a .257 on-base percentage and a .226 slugging percentage. "Time, give them time," manager Ron Washington said. "Napoli had a good month of April and has struggled in the month of May. He has a track record. When you're not doing one thing, you're doing another. He may not be swinging the bat well, but he's doing a good job working our pitching staff. Same with Torrealba. "Sometimes when you're in a funk, it takes time. You got to keep battling. The only way you're going to get out of the funk is keep getting at-bats."
Top prospect Profar stays hot at Double-A
SEATTLE -- Double-A Frisco infielder Jurickson Profar, the Rangers' top prospect, had a 29-game hitting streak stopped on Sunday but bounced back with a three-hit game on Monday.
The RoughRiders were off on Tuesday and Profar went into Wednesday's game at Tulsa having reached base in 40 straight games.That's the longest such streak in either the Majors or the Minor Leagues this season. The three-hit game raised his batting average to .300 for the first time this season and his .518 slugging percentage is the best on the team. Profar started the season in Double-A with just two hits in 26 at-bats. Since then he is hitting .340.
Tuesday marked the first time the Rangers have won with four hits or fewer since May 25, 2011, against the White Sox. Joe Nathan, who has retired 13 straight hitters, recorded his 10th save on Tuesday night. It's the eighth time he has had at least 10 saves in a season. Five other active pitchers have at least that many: Mariano Rivera (15), Francisco Cordero (10), Jason Isringhausen (nine), Francisco Rodriguez (eight) and Jose Valverde (eight). Rangers relievers had a 2.09 ERA going into Wednesday's game, the lowest in the Majors.
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.