Tepesch regains his form, sinker

HOUSTON -- The even-keeled Nick Tepesch wasn't looking for a confidence boost after two rocky starts. He's a confident rookie.

He just wanted results. And a devastating sinker. Tepesch found both in Sunday's 12-7 victory over the Houston Astros.

Tepesch had allowed 10 runs in his previous 10⅔ innings after bursting on the scene in April, when he went 2-1 and helped settle the Rangers rotation. The typical rookie speed bump followed.

Tepesch worked on his command in between his starts, then went out and executed his pitches against Houston and dominated again. Good results. Good sinker. And maybe a little boost thrown on top.

"You take away the positives and you get ready for the next one," Tepesch said. "You go back and look at what made me successful today and that was a good sinker and commanding my fastball. Pitching, that's where it all starts, commanding your fastball. Everything plays off of that."

Tepesch allowed a run in six innings as he and the Rangers went on a Sunday drive of sorts. This one was never in doubt because the offense scored 12 runs in the first five innings and Tepesch didn't do anything to make his day more difficult than it had to be.

He entered the game with four walks in 32 innings and added only one more to that total. He's made seven starts now in the big leagues and walked more than two in a game only twice.

With most young pitchers, you worry about control and piling up walks. With Tepesch, it's more about commanding the fastball and having a good sinker.

He did that against the Astros, allowing three singles and a solo home run to Jason Castro. Tepesch had a career-high nine strikeouts.

"He kept the ball in play and threw strikes," manager Ron Washington said. "He had good bite on his breaking ball, and his sinker was there. He executed the game plan very well."

And it's on to the next start Friday against the Detroit Tigers and Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. Another test. Tepesch says he's ready.

"It's about sticking with who I am as a pitcher and getting this team a win every time out and helping them every time out I can," Tepesch said.