Nick Tepesch is starting to show that he is dead-set determined to be a part of the Texas Rangers' starting rotation in April when the Rangers open a new season full of optimism and hope after a disaster of a 2014 season mired with injuries.
In fact, it's because of those injuries to starting pitchers that Tepesch even got another chance to pitch this year for Texas after an awful spring training basically backed him out of a rotation spot. Derek Holland, gone. Matt Harrison, gone. Martin Perez, gone. Tepesch, in.
Since returning from a short hiatus thanks to some knee soreness, Tepesch has dialed it in, and the results are coming.
In fact, in his last four starts — one before the time off and three since — he's put together a 2.80 ERA and has strung together back-to-back seven-inning starts, both of which were quality starts. Those came after his first outing back from the time off when he only worked 5 2/3 innings, scoreless ones in fact, on a strict pitch count.
“That’s what this game is all about, consistency,” Tepesch told reporters following his no-decision in the Rangers' walk-off win on Sunday. “I’m trying to build consistency. The more you can do that, the more comfortable you are going to be, the better you are going to perform.”
Tepesch was putrid in spring training and then went to Round Rock and was very good. After this recent run of starts, he's got his season ERA down to 4.15 in 15 starts, compared to a 4.84 ERA in 17 starts a year ago. With the Rangers' pitching questions moving toward next year, Tepesch is definitely looking the part to fill out the back of the Opening Day rotation. A strong finish to the year will help solidify that thought.