The Thursday off day is giving the Texas Rangers a chance to sort out their rotation after the Tuesday rainout and Wednesday doubleheader, and they will maneuver the rest of the season around Cole Hamels so that he can pitch a potentially important season finale.
The left-hander will remain on four-days’ rest over the final three weeks of the season, which means he will pitch Monday in the opener of a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners and Sept. 16 at the Los Angeles Angels.
Should that schedule continue to hold, he would face the Mariners against Sept. 21 at Safeco Field and the Houston Astros on Sept. 26 before taking on the Oakland A’s on Oct. 1 in Game 162.
As tight as the wild-card standings are, that game could be meaningful.
Hamels is the “most experienced, most veteran pitcher we have out there,” manager Jeff Banister said. “I think the body of work speaks for itself.”
The recent body of work, though, has been dicey. Hamels is 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA in his past five starts, walking 15 and striking out only 19 in 28 1/3 innings, and was visibly frustrated after allowing five second-inning runs Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves.
“I’m very capable of being able to finish a hitter off, and it’s definitely not happening this year,” Hamels said. “You can’t really fight yourself in a game when you’re out on the mound, but I didn’t that a lot. It’s just coming out a little more. It’s not to the benefit of what we’re trying to accomplish.”
A.J. Griffin will start Sunday in the series finale against the New York Yankees, a start that became necessary because the rainout bumped Miguel Gonzalez from Tuesday to Wednesday and he wouldn’t have enough rest to go Sunday.
Gonzalez will follow Hamels on Tuesday.
By then, the Rangers could have Keone Kela (shoulder) and Matt Bush (knee) back on the active roster. Both threw their third bullpen sessions Friday and could be ready to come off the disabled list as soon as Sunday.
They will each be off Saturday.
“We still have to see how they feel,” pitching coach Doug Brocail said. “I’m expecting good things from both guys. We do need them.”