Nick Tepesch was really close to pitching his way out of the Texas Rangers' rotation with the emergence of Martin Perez, the trade deadline looming in a month and the increasing health of guys like Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis.
Tepesch, a rookie right-hander, who earned the No. 5 starter's job out of spring training after Perez was knocked out of the race with a fractured forearm, got off to a decent start working with a deadly sinker that induced plenty of groundballs with the Rangers' solid infield.
But lately, Tepesch had begun to fall on hard times, giving up 17 earned runs in his three previous starts prior to Sunday night's rain-delayed affair that didn't get started until just after 10 p.m. In that late-night affair, Tepesch turned things around in a big way. He allowed just one run in 5 2/3 innings and kept the game in reach until his offense could help him get off the hook with a 2-1 win to complete a series sweep of the team with the best record in baseball.
"The biggest thing was executing pitches,” Tepesch told ESPN. “I just made the one bad pitch, and I didn’t think it was that bad, to be honest with you. Maybe it could have gotten a little further in."
He might have earned himself a reprieve, as well, as it's likely either he or fellow rookie starter Justin Grimm, who replaced the injured Matt Harrison after two starts in April, will be out a starting job when the Rangers either get back Colby Lewis and Alexi Ogando or make a move before the July 31 trade deadline for a starting pitcher.