The Rangers are 52-81

If Texas manage to go 29-0 in their final 29 contests, the club will finish the season with a .500 record. So you're saying there's a chance... 

To avoid the franchise's first 100 loss season since doing it back-to-back years in 1972-'73, the Rangers will have to go 11-18 (.379) to close out the season, which is more or less in line with their current .391 winning percentage. 

However, to say the games don't matter at this point is not a valid assessment. Winning doesn't matter -- not when you're chasing the #1 pick -- but if I went into the Rangers clubhouse and tried to tell Nick Tepesch, or Rougned Odor these games don't mean a thing, I wouldn't be greeted very favorably. To them, every day is still the World Series, and it should be. They have a stake in the future of the franchise. 

Tonight, Tepesch struggled again. In a forgotten year the work of a little-known back-end starter doesn't ostensibly count for much damage, but he is still a pitcher the Rangers are going to depend on moving forward. There's a better than 50% chance he winds up as a member of the starting rotation next year. 

Nick's workload in 2014 is in the same range as he ended up last year, going 93.0 innings before being shut down, but the results show nowhere near the same pitcher. From a run-prevention standpoint, his last two years have proven similar; in 2013 he had a 4.84 ERA and this year it's about a half-run better (4.44). His peripherals, though, aren't in the same ballpark. 

Last year, in spite of his inflated earned run average, the process that got him there suggested he was underperforming. He carried a 18.7% strikeout rate with a mere 6.6% walk rate, and induced 47.3% of his outs on ground balls. All three of those figures are worthy of a middle-rotation starter. 

This season, everything has fallen off. Yeah, his ERA is better, but his K rate (11.9%), BB rate (7.9%) and GB rate (40.7%) each indicate he's been pretty lucky. Last year his xFIP -- what his ERA theoretically should have been -- was an excellent 3.82; this year it's 4.73. 

Nick Tepesch has still only logged 190.1 IP in his big league career, so he still has a bit of a ways to go before we should write anything definitive about his future prospects, but to succeed, or, hell, even exist in a 2015 rotation that figures to be far superior to the one he's currently in (by default), he will have to do better than he's shown in this year. 

I'm an admitted Tepesch apologist; I have faith in his ability to shine as a back-of-the-rotation starter; there may not be another player on the roster I'm more focused on down the stretch.