Wash's Wisdom: Starters can push each other

ARLINGTON -- Ron Washington has a luxury now that Matt Garza, a starter who seems destined to pitch at less seven innings every time out, is in the rotation.

That's good for the bullpen.

"It keeps everyone fresh," Washington said. "It's like a day off for them."

Look at what the rotation did the last time around. Garza went seven innings. Derek Holland, six. Martin Perez threw a complete game. Yu Darvish went eight, and Alexi Ogando pitched 7 1/3 innings. That's minimal work for the bullpen.

Garza has gone seven innings in all four of his starts since he was acquired from the Cubs. And he does it while needing only about 100 pitches to get there.

Washington likes the message that is being sent. Be economical with your pitches. Even though Ogando allowed three home runs in Texas' 5-1 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday, he threw only 73 pitches, averaging eight pitches fewer per inning compared to his last four starts.

"It's huge, and I think that'll start rubbing off," Washington said. "Perez went deep (on Sunday) and finished the ballgame. Darvish went eight (on Monday). That's the second time Garza has gotten into the eighth inning in back-to-back starts. Holland went deep. It's important."