ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Joe Nathan #36 of the Texas Rangers closes out the inning for the win against the Cleveland Indians at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
In a Friday staple, we'll discuss who's in a groove and who's in a rut for the Texas Rangers.
Joe Nathan — There have been more concerns about the veteran closer than there probably should have been, even throughout this remarkable stretch he's on this season. Nathan saved yet another game on Thursday night, making it 12 straight and 28 saves on the season in 29 attempts, putting him on pace to have his best season yet in an extraordinary career.
Martin Perez — The 22-year-old has long been expected to make a big-league splash and it appears he might be doing it now. He's made three starts since his return to the Rangers after a spot start back in May and a dominant stretch in Triple-A Round Rock and he's been pretty stellar against the Cardinals, Reds and most recently the Mariners. His 16 2/3-inning scoreless streak was ended on Thursday with an unearned run, but if not for that he could've easily gone six scoreless on Thursday.
Adrian Beltre — After cooling off a bit, Beltre is red-hot again, going 10-for-25 over the last week with a big two-homer game on Thursday night to help the Rangers come from behind to avoid a sweep.
Rookie starters (not named Perez) — Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm are in a battle with time right now, as both Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis are on their way back from their respective injuries and almost sure bets to step immediately into the starting rotation. With Martin Perez pitching well, these two could be on their way out — to the bullpen or to the minors.