BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 03: Pitcher Scott Baker #25 of the Texas Rangers throws to a Baltimore Orioles batter during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 3, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The Texas Rangers and Ron Washington would've likely wanted to see Scott Baker get a bit deeper into Thursday's game than the 4 2/3 innings he ended up pitching, but when you're dealing with a spot start from your long man, it's tough to be picky.
Baker gave the Rangers a chance to win the series finale in Baltimore on Thursday after the Rangers opted to avoid a delayed Yu Darvish start with inclement weather in the forecast.
Baker gave up seven hits and three runs in his start and left the game 3-2 deficit.
"Bake was on alert [Wednesday] when we heard of the weather," Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters after Thursday's game. "He prepared today, along with Yu. If we decided to go with Yu, he would have been prepared. And if we decided to go with Baker, he would have been prepared. It wasn't all of a sudden that Bake became the guy. He knew coming into today that it was a possibility."
Baker has had some bright spots this year, and he's settled well into his role as the team's long-relief man after a brief stint as a starter earlier in the season.
"I am fully embracing this role," Baker said. "I'm coming to appreciate how difficult this role can be. Think as a starter, you take for granted how nice it is to have a routine, to have bullpen sessions where you can actually work on different pitches."