Extra Bases: Ogando is still hanging around

HOUSTON -- Alexi Ogando is still in the Rangers' rotation.

And the way manager Ron Washington sees it, it's an improving Ogando that will take the mound Tuesday night when the Rangers play at home for the first time in 12 days against the Milwaukee Brewers.

"I thought he got better in Anaheim," Washington said when asked about Ogando's most recent start. "We'll just watch the next one."

Washington liked the way Ogando bounced back on Thursday against the Angels after he allowed a walk and then a two-run home run to Mike Trout in the first inning. Ogando responded with five scoreless innings, allowing the Rangers' offense a chance to explode for a 10-3 victory over the Halos.

It was all about Ogando letting loose after the Trout home run. At least that's how Washington saw it.

"I saw him let the ball go," Washington said. "I began to see his velocity go up. I began to see his breaking ball come into play because they began to realize he has a fastball and his changeup came into play.

"That's what he has to do. It was progress."

While Ogando progresses, he is putting pressure on the Rangers' bullpen. He's pitched five innings or less in all four of his starts since coming off the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. A lot of that has to with pitch count. He, not opponents, has been driving up that number.

A lack of command, especially in his start in Oakland on Aug. 2, has been the biggest surprise. That is unusual for Ogando.

Washington said that's just his mechanics getting out of whack. Ogando was able to adjust in Anaheim.

"I saw him compete a little harder," Washington said. "I saw a breaking ball make a difference now once he started getting his fastball across the plate. Before that his breaking ball never made a difference."

Maybe it's not as big of concern as the season winds down because the Rangers' other starters pitch deep into games. Yu Darvish and Martin Perez just went eight innings in their starts. Derek Holland and Matt Garza are almost a lock to go seven innings every start.

Washington isn't going to push Ogando if he's throwing 20 pitches an inning like he did against the Angels.

"We want all of our pitchers to get deep in ball games," Washington said. "But I'm not going to sit here and panic because he gave us 5 2/3 or six innings."

"After five he asked to go back out there," Washington said. "Coming off the shoulder injury I wasn't going to take that chance. Now you know if you lower your pitch count you can go deeper in games."

UP NOW: Take a look back at Darvish's bid for a no-hitter. Richard Durrett offers his take in our rapid reaction. And find out what was behind A.J. Pierzynski's ejection in the sixth inning.

ON DECK: The Rangers go for nine straight wins with right-hander Alexi Ogando (5-3, 3.28 ERA) facing Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada (4-4, 4.96) at 7:05 p.m. at Rangers Ballpark.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How confident are you in Alexi Ogando as he remains in the starting rotation?