ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ron Washington is looking for five good innings today from Derek Holland. If he gets five strong, Holland might get a sixth. C.J. Wilson will pitch likely three innings Monday in Anaheim and so on through Wednesday's end to the regular season. Washington is getting his rotation ready and rested for Friday's start of the postseason.
The plan, Washington said, remains to go with a four-man rotation that appears to include Wilson, Colby Lewis, Holland and Matt Harrison. Washington has named Wilson as the Game 1 starter, but has yet to decide on an order after that. Wilson will leave Anaheim early to arrive either in New York or Arlington in proper time to prepare for his start.
"We know what we want to do," Washington said of his rotation. "We're not ready to say it yet."
A significant focus on the mound will be the relievers battling for spot on the ALDS roster. Those include Yoshinori Tateyama, Scott Feldman, Michael Kirkman and Darren O'Day. There will be plenty of innings for an intriguing competition to take root.
Tateyama helped his cause Saturday with a bounce-back performance in his first appearance since Sept. 10 when he joined a minuscule list of pitchers to give up a grand slam to consecutive batters faced. Tateyama pitched a hitless seventh inning against the Mariners with a couple of strikeouts. Meanwhile, Feldman allowed three runs on four hits and a walk over four innings.
* Nelson Cruz returns to right field today for the first time since he strained his left hamstring nearly a month ago. He's played seven games as the designated hitter. Cruz will play six or seven innings today, Washington said. Washington said his postseason outfield will is set with Cruz in right, Josh Hamilton in center and either David Murphy, Endy Chavez or Craig Gentry in left field.
Washington said his decision in left on a per-game basis might not necessarily be dictated by the starting pitcher being a lefty or right. Chavez and Murphy are left-handed hitters and Gentry is a righty.
"You could see Gentry, you could see Murphy. You could see Chavez. There is no set. The only thing that's going to be set is Hamilton and Cruz. The rest of it is flexible. You see Hamilton out there and you will see Cruz out there."
* The beef of the Rangers bullpen will get today off. Koji Uehara, Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz will not pitch today. Washington did not say who he plans to use as the closer if that situation occurs. He mentioned the possibility of taking a look during today's game at Michael Gonzalez, Mark Hamburger and Darren O'Day.
* The Rangers enter today's game one game ahead of the Detroit Tigers for the No. 2 seed and home-field advantage in the ALDS. The No. 3 seed will open the postseason Friday night at the New York Yankees. While winning games remains a priority, Washington said resting his players properly to prepare them for the postseason is the top priority.
"The important thing is, for me, they need to be ready to go," Washington said. "They grind for me the whole year, the same guys, they need a break and I'm going to give them a break. I want to win and we expect to win, whoever we put out there, but I got to get them ready. I don't want to go into Friday and we're still feeling lag. I want to go in Friday mentally fresh, as physically fresh as we possibly can be at this point and see what happens."
* With a win today, the Rangers would match a team record with 52 home wins (also 1978) and finish with the best home winning percentage in club history at 52-29 (.642, the current best is .634 in 1978 when finished 52-30). It would also give the Rangers a seven-game win streak to end the home slate and a club-record 15th win over Seattle.