HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 12: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on August 12, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
A day before Yu Darvish turned in his worst outing of the season, the Texas Rangers shuffled their pitching rotation to ensure he could start a playoff opener.
That's fine, but the Rangers need to worry about getting to the postseason first as they're tied with the Oakland A's for first place in the AL West with 23 games remaining and are 5.5 games up on the New York Yankees for the first wild-card spot. The Yankees are two games behind the Rays for the second spot.
Moving Derek Holland up to Saturday will mean he'll pitch on the normal four days of rest instead of getting an extra day and going on Sunday. Sunday's starter is TBD with that spot likely to go to Travis Blackley, who's made three starts in the No. 5 spot — two good ones and the last one bad — or rehabbed No. 5 starter Nick Tepesch, who threw just 28 pitches on Monday while throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in his return from the DL.
“He was executing exactly like people said he had been on rehab,” Ron Washington told reporters of Tepesch's return. “He kept the ball down and used his slider well.”
If things hold up, that means the Rangers will send the same three pitchers that faced the A's in Oakland this week — Holland, Perez and Darvish — to the hill against the A's in next week's three-game set in Arlington.