The Texas bullpen figured to be a strength this month, with Alexi Ogando, Koji Uehara, Mike Adams and closer Neftali Feliz available to pitch the final four innings of games. Starter-turned-middle reliever Scott Feldman wasn’t so much a part of that plan, but the former 17-game winner stepped up big on Monday, pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings as the Rangers topped the Tigers 7-3 in 11 innings.
Feldman, who lost his rotation spot while going 7-11 with a 5.48 ERA in 2010, was limited to just 11 appearances this year after offseason knee surgery, and he was no shoo-in for the Rangers’ postseason roster until injuries began to strike the rest of the pitching staff. He made just three appearances in September, giving up seven runs in 10 innings. However, he’s now pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings with an 8/0 K/BB ratio this month.
Feldman’s big outing today came in relief of Derek Holland, who gave up three runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings. It’s a long shot, but he’s put himself in a position to take over a rotation spot if Holland’s inconsistency gets him banished to the pen later in the ALCS or the World Series.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.
Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez made his debut with his new team on Thursday night after a brief stint with Triple-A Round Rock. He started in left field and was inserted into the number eight spot in the Rangers’ batting order.
The Rangers made two quick outs in the bottom of the second inning, with Adrian Beltre grounding out and Rougned Odor striking out. But the inning was kept alive as Jonathan Lucroy singled and advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and then Mitch Moreland walked to bring up Gomez.
Gomez took a first-pitch cutter from Josh Tomlin for a ball, then jumped on another cut fastball, drilling it for a no-doubt three-run home run into the seats in left field at Globe Life Park in Arlington (#29 out of 30 in Craig’s ballpark name rankings).
Here’s the video.