The bad thing about consecutive saves streaks: They are all going to end.
And when they do, it's going to be painful.
The Texas Rangers and Joe Nathan found that out Thursday when the ultra-reliable closer, pitching for a third consecutive day, could not protect a freshly built two-run lead in a 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Nathan allowed four hits and did not retire a batter while giving up three runs. It ended Nathan's club-record (and personal-best) save streak at 31 straight.
"That's where we wanted to be," manager Ron Washington said, "giving the ball to Joe. It just didn't happen."
It was the third time this season Nathan has pitched at least three consecutive days. He had not done it, however, since late June. It appeared that he had little on his pitches Thursday. Nathan, who earlier this season had an injection in his shoulder to alleviate inflammation, acknowledged the possibility of having a "dead arm."
"I'm feeling fine," he said. "There's going to be patches when you get a dead arm and stuff like that even when you are feeling good. I may be going through one of those now.
"There are times when you feel like you've got good life on your baseball. And there are other times when you feel good and it's not coming out the same. Tonight was one of those nights. I just didn't have the same zip on it."