As the Rangers (65-45) head into a home series against the surging, we-knew-they’d-turn-it-around Tigers (60-52), I had myself thinking a strange thought: Scott Feldman is the best chance the Rangers have to win over the next three days.
Feldman? The same Scooter Feldman that started the season 0-6 as the injury plagued rotation’s spot-starter? The same Scooter Feldman that had the fan next to me at a game chanting, “Designate-For-Assignment! D-F-A! D-F-A!” after giving up back-to-back home runs to the A’s on June 28 (a game he would go on to win, might I note)? The same Scooter Feldman that may have been one bad start away from fulfilling that fan’s wishes? No, not the same Scooter Feldman.
This is a totally new Feldman. Well, new to 2012. In fact this is a totally old Feldman. He’s looking much more like he did in 2009 as the ace that Rangers fans had grown to appreciate.
Feldman has his momentum going, as he’s averaging just over two runs per game in his past six starts. He’s also only walked three batters in that period of time, and has been able to keep a lot of balls on the ground, which everyone knows is all too important in Arlington. He is 6-6 on the year with a 4.52 ERA.
After the Feldman/Max Scherzer matchup on Friday, the Rangers will have to deal with Justin Verlander, who faces a struggling Derek Holland on Saturday. Follow that up with a wild Yu Darvish facing an unnamed Detroit starter on Sunday, and I think Feldman is the Rangers best bet to win.
Roy Oswalt has all but held a public protest over being moved to the bullpen. While you can’t blame Roy-O, a 13-year veteran, for being upset about losing his starting role, he has to face the fact that he has pretty much stunk since coming to Texas. I mean, when you post a 6.49 ERA in five starts, including eight+ runs on two separate occasions you cannot be surprised when you lose your spot. I think almost everyone would pick a red-hot Feldman over a pouty Oswalt.
As for this Friday’s game, Scherzer is no easy target, don’t get me wrong. He is 10-6 with an ERA just a tick over Feldman’s at 4.72. He has not given up more than five runs since his first start of the year on April 8.
Runs will be hard to come by on Saturday as Holland and the Rangers will dawn their snazzy 1976 powder blue uniforms to face Verlander, who is 12-7 with a 2.51 ERA. Holland has given up six runs in three of his last four starts, so if he doesn’t keep that under control against the hard-hitting Tigers’ bats, a loss will surely follow.
The whirling Darvish will take the mound on Sunday’s afternoon game. The Tigers are yet to name a starter for the game, but it will most likely be Rick Porcello. Darvish is 11-8 on the year with a 4.57 ERA. Let’s hope Darvish can hit the strike zone without hitting too much of the strike zone for Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera to tee off. If it helps, Yu has won both games he’s started against the Tigers and has struck out fifteen while walking six.
For the season outlook, just as the Rangers’ bats are starting to come out of their slump, the starting rotation has fallen into a lull. However, someone has always been there to step up in the time of need. As unlikely as it would have seemed a few weeks ago, at this point of the season that person is Scott Feldman.