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.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.