ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 11: Umpire Kerwin Danley #44 walks back to the mound with Joe Nathan #36 of the Texas Rangers during th game against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 11, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
Last season, Nathan appeared in 48 games, missing about a month of time in June. Nathan pitched in back-to-back days on July 8 and July 9, and then did so on July 15, 16 and 17, not allowing a run in any of those outings. For whatever reason, those were the only times the Twins pitched Nathan on back-to-back days. Whether that was because they had concerns about Nathan's ability to bounce back, or whether that was a product of the Twins being bad enough that they didn't have a situation they'd want to use their closer in two days in a row, I don't know.
But I do think it is worthwhile to keep an eye on this situation. Nathan is 37 years old, recently had Tommy John surgery, and has now appeared in four games in six days (as have Alexi Ogando and Mike Adams). That's a 108 appearance pace, which is clearly unsustainable. I get that Ron Washington and Mike Maddux don't have a lot of faith in the other guys in the bullpen, but the reality is that they're going to have to turn to Koji Uehara or Mark Lowe or Robbie Ross or Scott Feldman every once in a while to protect a small lead, or else the key pieces in the bullpen are going to be burned up.
I'm assuming Nathan and Ogando are unavailable for today's game, and it will be interesting to see how Washington utilizes the pen today.
One other thing...the Rangers are 2-2 when scoring 3 runs or fewer this season, and it is worth noting that if you score three runs, you're going to lose more games than you win, on average. While Nathan blew the save and clearly was pitching poorly yesterday, the reality is that Kevin Millwood labored through the first inning, lucky to only give up one run, then coasted through the sixth inning. You should put up more than one run in six innings against Millwood. This is on the offense as well as Nathan.
Jeff Wilson talks about Nathan's struggles in his game story.
Anthony Andro has a game story up at the Fox Sports Southwest site.
Calvin Watkins has the "Rapid Reaction" at the ESPN Dallas blog.
Ron Washington says that he's not worried about Nathan, and that he thought Nathan was throwing the ball well. I respectfully disagree with Wash...Nathan was awful last night.
Behind the paywall, Evan Grant writes about the Joe Nathan situation.
Wilson has a story about Kinsler's contract extension.