For the longest time this season, the Texas Rangers had no viable left-handed relief option to use late in ball games.
Sam Freeman had a decent little run in him, but he seems to have recently fallen out of favor a bit in high-leverage situations.
At the trade deadline, the Rangers made a big splash by acquiring Cole Hamels from Philadelphia, and they got a nice little throw-in in the deal in the form of hard-throwing lefty reliever Jake Diekman. Now, they appear to have added another solid southpaw to the bullpen with the call-up of Andrew Faulkner from Triple-A Round Rock.
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His first two big-league outings came in games in which the Rangers were trailing by large margins. Monday's was much different. Faulkner entered the game in the sixth inning with a 3-0 lead and got two outs to end the inning after Yovani Gallardo got through 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He was so good, and so efficient, he was brought back out for the seventh inning and finished with 1 1/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. In his three appearances, Faulkner has now given up just one hit in three scoreless innings of work.
If he can produce at this level for the rest of the year, it further adds to what is already a really solid bullpen that has turned from one of the Rangers' biggest weaknesses earlier this year to possibly its greatest strength.