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)
Scott Baker did an admirable job of preserving the Texas Rangers' overworked, ragged bullpen for the majority of the night on Monday night after starter Miles Mikolas failed to get out of the fourth inning in the Rangers' loss to the Houston Astros.
The Rangers' occasional spot starter/long man worked 3 1/3 innings with one big blow resulting in him allowing three runs.
"He saved the bullpen," Rangers manager Ron Washington said in his postgame press conference. "I can’t say enough about Baker. That’s what we needed to keep the other guys fresh for the rest of the series. He’s done it for us all season."
But Baker has now thrown nearly 140 pitches in a four-day span and will certainly be unavailable Tuesday night, and most likely Wednesday night, and that's where we run into a problem.
The Rangers are letting Phil Irwin make the start on Tuesday night — his first as a Ranger and second ever — after Nick Martinez was placed on the disabled list with a ribcage strain. That means, if Irwin struggles, he's most likely going to have to battle through said struggles and be left out to dry.
Then, hopefully, the Rangers can count on Yu Darvish to work deep into the game Wednesday against an Astros team he's thoroughly dominated in his career and come within one out of both a perfect game (last year) and a no-hitter (this year).