Scott Feldman was a Texas Ranger for the first eight years of his career, and it was a very up and down career for “Scooter”. We all had moments where we liked and believed in Scott, and we all had moments where we wanted the Rangers to get rid of him and then never see him again. In his eight years in Texas, he won 39 games and lost 44. He had an ERA of 4.81, and his last year in Texas he was 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA. I remember rooting for him to do well every time he came out to pitch, and almost always being disappointed by his performance. So the Rangers let him go, and he wound up signing with the Cubs.
The Rangers played the Cubs earlier this season, but had a rain out, which gets to be played tonight at Wrigley field. So the Rangers get to go back to Wrigley Field and try to win the series that right now is all knotted up at 1-1. The numbers are actually very similar between Scott Feldman and Nick Tepesch this season. As a Cub, Feldman is 2-3 with a 3.34 ERA, his WAR is 0.1, is RAR is 2, and his RA9 (runs allowed per nine innings) is 5.46. Tepesch is 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, his WAR is 0.4, his RAR is 5, and his RA9 is 3.54. This matchup is particularly intriguing to me because of the history between Feldman and the Rangers. There are multiple ex-Rangers pitchers that don’t do well the first time they face their old team again, and there are some who prove a point and do not do well. I believe that Feldman is going to be the former. I think he wants to beat his old team so bad that it is going to get into his head and make him try to hard to throw the perfect pitch. That will be an advantage to the Rangers hitters, who finally have some life in their bats again.
The Rangers have now moved up to fourth in batting average in the AL, fifth in home-runs, sixth in RBI, fifth in OBP and SLG% and fourth in OPS. The Cubs, on the other hand, are eleventh in batting average in the NL, third in home-runs, twelfth in RBI, twelfth in OBP, fourth in SLG%, and eighth in OPS. The Rangers have the advantage there.
The one thing the Rangers need to prove on this road trip starting tonight is that they can continue the hot hitting that they have been doing at home on the road. The Rangers need to win all three of these road series (Cubs, Brewers and Astros) because they are clearly the better team in all three series. This is a great time to stay ahead of the AL West competition that is trying to catch them, mainly the A’s, we will worry about the Angels if and when that becomes a problem (right now it is not looking like they are going to be a problem, but never dismiss a team like the Angels in May). If the Rangers can continue hitting with runners in scoring position, like they did this weekend against Boston, they will be fine this coming week. If not, you will see some frustrated Rangers fans writing here this week.
My prediction for tonight: Scooter will look good the first time through the lineup, and then get shelled the rest of the game until he comes out, and I believe that Tepesch will continue sailing just like he has been, and the bull pen will continue doing what it has been doing, which is helping the Rangers win games. The Rangers take tonight’s game, and then it is on to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers.