9/28/2013 12:54 P.M. ET
Scheppers feels fine despite workload
By T.R. Sullivan and Master Tesfatsion / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Tanner Scheppers, having pitched in three of the Rangers' last four games, said he is fine physically going into the final weekend of the season. He went into Saturday's game ranked fifth in the American League with 73 appearances, and seventh for relievers with 73 2/3 innings.
But Scheppers has also been economical with his pitches, and that should help the stress on his arm. Scheppers, going into Saturday, was tied for 23rd in total number of pitches thrown, and his average of 14.2 pitches per inning is the third lowest among relievers in the AL.
"I think that's just the key, is to keep the pitches as low as possible," Scheppers said. "Just attack the hitters and try to get ground balls and get outs. The games are a lot of fun right now, so you kind of have a little bit more adrenaline going and you really don't feel a whole lot when you actually get out there.
"I think [manager Ron Washington] did a great job managing me this year. I got a good break around the All-Star time where he didn't use me for a good amount of time, and I get to learn from the best guys. They take care of their bodies and have taught me how to take care of it, and it prepares me to go every day."
Rangers relievers as a group have been used for 480 innings this season going into Saturday's game, the ninth lowest in the AL. That's an average of three innings per game. They are only slightly over that for the month of September.
"As far as heavy workload, you're in a spot now where adrenaline is going to take over," closer Joe Nathan said. "If you're tired, you won't feel it out there, that's for sure."
Rangers pitchers had no issues with baseballs
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers dismissed any issues with the baseballs during Friday's game against the Angels, contrary to C.J. Wilson's postgame comments. Wilson said the baseballs were slippery and only one out of every four was rubbed up.
"We changed more balls than we would normally change," Wilson said after Friday's game. "Baseball is a game of adjustments. They aren't going to hit time out. I'm not going to stall, but sometimes the ball is not in condition to play baseball with. So I use some rosin and sweat and grind some grip onto it.
"The best pitchers are able to make adjustments very quick, and that's why some of those guys win Cy Youngs and some don't."
Crew chief Ted Barrett, however, said all the baseballs were rubbed up before Friday's game.
"They were all rubbed with mud," Barrett told MLB.com. "Mike DiMuro was working home plate [and is at third base Saturday morning]. Each ball he got had mud on it. I guess they weren't rubbed to C.J.'s liking, but they were all rubbed.
"No balls came out of the wrapper. Every ball had mud on it."
Wilson claimed the issue wasn't a coincidence, but Rangers manager Ron Washington rejected any sort of conspiracy with the baseballs.
"He mentioned to us [during the game] that C.J. thought the balls weren't rubbed up properly," Washington said. "We tried to accommodate it, but I've been in the game since 1970 and I haven't seen a game ball until it was in the game."
Alexi Ogando, Jason Frasor, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan all said they didn't have issues with the baseballs when they were on the mound in Friday's win. Ogando said the baseballs were the same as always.
"They were good," Ogando said. "I don't know what was going on with C.J.'s balls."
"It's surprising, because people know what to do when [Wilson's] pitching at their park," Nathan said. "Some balls are different. I don't know why they thought there was an issue with it. Both teams used the same baseballs. It is what it is, and he spoke his opinion. Not something I would've done, but at the same time, everyone is entitled to their own way of going about things and how to handle stuff."
Nathan asks Twins to help Rangers out
ARLINGTON -- Rangers closer Joe Nathan has preached all week that if the club doesn't take care of business at home, watching the scoreboard will be irrelevant. But that doesn't mean he hasn't sent a message to his former team asking for a little help.
Nathan said he's texted Twins manager Ron Gardenhire recently to get a few wins against the Indians, whom the Rangers trailed by a game in the Wild Card standings entering Saturday's contest.
"Let's rally the troops," Nathan told Gardenhire. "Let's go. Get them riled up."
He's not alone. Jason Frasor has also texted some of his former Blue Jays teammates for a hand during their three-game series against the Rays. Toronto won, 6-3, on Friday, which brought the Rangers within a game behind the Rays. With the loss, the Wild Card seedings won't be finalized until at least the final game of the regular season. Both Tampa Bay and Cleveland also played day games Saturday.
• The Rangers and the Angels did not have an extra-base hit in Friday's game. It's only the second time in the history of the Ballpark in Arlington that neither team had an extra-base hit. The only other time was on Sept. 7, 1995, in the Rangers' 2-0 victory over the White Sox.
• The Rangers stole three bases on Friday night, which gives them a stolen base in 10 consecutive games, the longest streak in club history. The Rangers had 18 stolen bases during those games, and they went into Saturday's game with 144 stolen bases, second most in the Major Leagues.
• Nathan earned his 42nd save on Friday night, tying him with John Wetteland for the third most in one season in club history. Francisco Cordero had 49 saves in 2004, and Wetteland had 43 in 1999. Wetteland had 42 in 1998.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.