SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers' plan was for Cole Hamels to pitch two innings and Nick Martinez to go four against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch on Friday night.Instead both starters were done before the fourth inning was over, and Minor League pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx was back on the mound
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers' plan was for Cole Hamels to pitch two innings and Nick Martinez to go four against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch on Friday night.
Instead both starters were done before the fourth inning was over, and Minor League pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx was back on the mound for the fourth time this spring. Bibens-Dirkx is not in big league camp and has been used only when the Rangers need extra pitching.
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That's been the story so far this spring, and it continued Friday night in a 12-2 loss to the Dodgers. Hamels was unable to get out of the first inning as he retired just one of six batters he faced. He allowed four runs on a pair of two-run home runs by Yasiel Puig and Franklin Gutierrez, and also walked two.
"I really wanted to work on fastballs, curveballs, changeups," Hamels said. "I would say predominately it was a lot of fastballs and curveballs, and that's probably what put me in the bad situation, was not being able to locate the curveballs early and then getting myself into counts where you have to throw fastballs in the general jurisdiction of strikes, but it kind of went in the other area code out of the ballpark."
Hamels was making his first start in the Cactus League. He had two previous outings in a simulated game and a B game. He is an 11-year veteran, and the Rangers trust he knows what to do to get ready for the regular season.
"You can look at all my Spring Training numbers as far back as you want," Hamels said. "I'm just trying to get my feel for the pitches. Most of the time during the season you obviously have a sharpness because you have the reps built up, but you're also reading and keying off swings a little bit more and the situation with the counts. Right now, I'm going right through that."
Hamels is going to be in the Rangers' rotation. Martinez has to win a job and Friday he did not advance the cause. He lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on five hits, including a home run to Puig, and two walks.
He was still upbeat about the outing afterwards.
"I felt really good out there," Martinez said. "I felt in sync with my mechanics and my mindset was in sync with my mechanics. I made some good pitches, but the home run to Yasiel I left up.
"Other than that, this is the most confident I have ever been. The results aren't there, but my body, my mindset, the way the ball is coming out of my hand ... I'm as confident as I've ever been. The results just aren't there."
At some point, the results have to come.
"Yeah, absolutely," Martinez said. "I'm confident they will get there."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.