ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' bullpen situation this season has been, to put it mildly, unstable. Of the relievers to start the year on the roster, only Tony Barnette, Matt Bush, Jose Leclerc and Alex Claudio still remain.They stand at eight members in the bullpen with the additions of Ricardo Rodriguez
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' bullpen situation this season has been, to put it mildly, unstable. Of the relievers to start the year on the roster, only Tony Barnette, Matt Bush, Jose Leclerc and Alex Claudio still remain.
They stand at eight members in the bullpen with the additions of Ricardo Rodriguez and Jhan Marinez, neither having pitched for the Rangers entering Friday. But by now, Rangers manager Jeff Banister knows who he's got when the game reaches the point where he needs to preserve a win.
That makes it tough to find room for newcomers to find opportunities to pitch, especially when there isn't any time for "experimentation."
"It's a real challenge. There's two guys in our bullpen that, I haven't seen them pitch live, so that's another element to it," Banister said. "Live, in a sense, for us. ... I think we know where we're at in innings six through nine in a winning situation.
"I don't think there's any, at this point, experimentation."
The members of the bullpen who comprise the later innings don't have defined roles, per se. There isn't a dedicated closer or setup man, rather each can pitch based on the situation that arises.
"You go with what you know and what's been consistent with you," Banister said. "However, there is the need to get the other guys in the mix, too, just to see who they are, what they are in this Major League setting with our club. And then the whole, kind of, moving parts at the back end, in my opinion, they're a little bit interchangeable right now more so than just established at where they pitch, what inning and how they pitch."
Rangers thankful for off-days
Friday's matchup with the Astros marked the opener of a 10-game homestand for the Rangers. However, they enjoyed a pair of off-days this week, one on each side of a two-game set with the Mets on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I think it should help freshen these guys up. The bookend two days off, two days playing and a day game, it's like you have a day and a half off, really."
Getting out of New York took a bit of time, so the Rangers didn't arrive back in Texas until 11:30 p.m. But it gives them a chance to stay rested ahead of a big homestand.
"Even though we were flying and didn't get home until 11:30, just getting our guys off their legs," Banister said. "Should be able to go a long ways to help these guys freshen up. We had some guys that were a little banged up and needed some time off."
•: Before the game on Friday, Adrian Beltre presented the batting helmet he was wearing while he collected his 3,000th hit, for placement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, where it will be displayed.
•: The Rangers optioned infielder Tyler Smith to Triple-A Round Rock before the game and activated Marinez, who was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Thursday.
•: Texas' win over the Mets on Wednesday was the first time the club has won a nine-inning game while having 15 strikeouts and leaving 15 runners on base. The Rangers had done so in one other game, an 18-inning win over the Royals on May 17, 1972.
Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.