Is the Texas Rangers bullpen starting to turn it around?

Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers
Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers played an afternoon Memorial Day game. The Rangers hit their magic number of five runs scored and were able to win this game and shutout the Tigers 5-0. They now have a 27-5 record when they score five runs or more. It was a well-pitched game by Nathan Eovaldi and from the bullpen. The same bullpen that has been mostly pitching awful for this entire month, might be turning it around. The Rangers also made a move to add to the bullpen today. I want to look at the performance of the bullpen on this road trip and see if it is a sign of things to come as we are now a third of the way through the season.

Texas Rangers' Bullpen on this Road Trip

The bullpen has been better on this road trip, despite what fans might be saying. If this team is going to stay afloat till the deadline they will need the bullpen as currently constructed to be more effective. The first game of this trip was not good. The Pirates scored five runs late in the game off Josh Sborz and Joe Barlow. Since that game the Rangers bullpen has thrown 13 innings and given up just four runs. Two of those runs were off Will Smith in Saturday's game in the 9th inning of a 5-1 game.

The improvement of the bullpen was on full display on Memorial Day. Nathan Eovaldi who has thrown two complete games this month was limited to just five innings today. The Tigers really made Eovaldi work. They got four hits and earned three walks against Eovaldi. That drove up his pitch count to 95 and he was done after five innings. He did allow no runs and left with the Rangers leading 3-0.

The bullpen would have to find a way to finish off the last four innings. It would be the most innings they would be asked to pitch since May 15th against the Braves. Bruce Bochy pushed the right buttons today in the bullpen. He started with Brock Burke, who went one scoreless inning. Then he turned to Jonathan Hernandez, who went the next two innings. He gave up a hit and a walk, but did not allow a run. Then he turned to Jose Leclerc to finish it off. Leclerc faced four batters, walking one, but retiring the other three to finish the shutout.

Jared Sandler of the Texas Rangers radio broadcast team, tweeted this out after the game about those three pitchers.

Those three have not met expectations this season and it has held the bullpen back. If their performances of late are a sign of things to come then this bullpen might be about to go on a good run. They will need all three of these pitchers to assume roles in the late innings for this bullpen to truly work.

Texas Rangers Bullpen Addition

The Rangers also did make a bullpen move today. They optioned Cody Bradford back to Round Rock and called up right-hander Grant Anderson to pitch in the bullpen. To get Anderson on the 40-man roster they designated for assignment Ricky Vanasco. Anderson has been one of the better relievers for Round Rock in the month of May. He has pitched 14 2/3 innings and has 26 strikeouts to six walks. He is allowing hitters a .173 batting average against him. He is 1-1 in save opportunities. He is right-handed sidearm reliever that throws in the mid 90's with a really good slider.

This is a video from Scott Lucas, of the Newberg Report and one of the hosts of the Diamond Pod, and he posted video of one of Anderson's recent appearances.

Anderson is one of a few guys I expect to come through the turnstiles over the next couple of months. I detailed more of these guys in this article from last week. The 25-year old Anderson will get the first shot. Bochy had this to say to the Dallas Morning News prior to the game today about calling Anderson up today,

" Sometimes, we’re going to make changes to see if we can improve. Grant is throwing the ball very well. He’s earned it"

Bruce Bochy

The bullpen did an outstanding job today in support of Nathan Eovaldi and the unit continues to improve as the Rangers approach the end of the month. The Rangers with the win today improve to 34-19. They are on pace for 103 wins. They once again have the second-best record in the American League. They still are number one in the league in run differential. They are now halfway to their entire win total from last season and we are not to June yet. Just an amazing run of play by the Rangers so far this season.

Game 2 of the series

The Rangers and Tigers will be playing a night game tomorrow as the Rangers are about to wrap up this nine game road trip. It will be Martin Perez for Texas going against Alex Faedo for Detroit.

The right-handed Faedo is coming into this game of a 10 strikeout, two run performance against the Chicago White Sox. It was his best start of the season. This start against Texas will be his fifth start of the season. He is 1-2 so far with a 4.15 ERA on the season. This will be his first appearance against the Rangers in his career.

Martin Perez is 6-1 on the season. After getting off to a rough start in May, Perez has rebounded with consecutive seven inning starts and only gave up two runs in each of the starts. He is starting to find his command the last two times out and is having more success and going deeper into games as a result. His last time against the Tigers was June 16th of 2022 and he went seven innings in that game, giving up one run, with five strikeouts and zero walks.

Game time tomorrow night is 5:40pm locally and the game will be broadcast by Bally Sports Southwest.