Looking to avoid a season-long five-game losing streak and a sweep at the hands of the last-place A's on Thursday, the Rangers bullpen collapsed yet again, and it was some of the usual suspects.
Keone Kela, bless his heart, has been pretty dang good this year as a 22-year-old rookie, but he's really struggling as of late and he began the implosion of the Rangers' chances of winning Thursday's series finale against Oakland.
With two quick outs in the seventh in a 3-3 game, Kela blew up and allowed two runs on two hits after getting those two quick outs. That gave way to lefty Sam Freeman, who didn't record an out and allowed another run on a hit and a walk.
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By the time newly-recalled Spencer Patton entered the game and got through 1 1/3 scoreless innings, the game was basically out of hand.
It was a disappointing, ever-increasing trend for a bullpen that has thrown the most innings in the American League, and the wear and tear is beginning to show. While making a big trade for a starting pitcher like Cole Hamels might seem like the right thing to do, the biggest need for this team right now to remain a contender is more established, fresher bullpen arms.