G134: Rangers go to five in a row with 5-1 win in Baltimore

The Rangers closed the gap in the wild card race to just two games with a win in Baltimore, as Boston got shellacked in Chicago on Friday night. They did it with a familiar story, really awesome starting (and relieving) pitching.
Wait.. WHAT?!?
It’s amazing that the 2009 edition of the Texas Rangers is seemingly more known for its pitching than its offense. Scott Feldman, who took the mound in Baltimore on Friday night is one of the best examples. He’s 15-4 on September 4th, and that’s really amazing considering he started the season in the bullpen. While his record wouldn’t be that radically different, perhaps maybe 17-4 if he won both of the starts he might have gotten in early April, it’s even more amazing if you look at the numbers of those three appearances.
Apr 9 – Cleveland – 2.1 IP, 5H, 4ER, 2HR, 2K, 0BB
Apr 13 – Baltimore – 2.2IP, 4H, 3ER, 1HR, 3K, 2BB
Apr 22 – Toronto – 1.2IP, 2H, 2ER, 0HR, 1K, 2BB
After those three relief appearances, his ERA was sitting at 12.15. Which was actually a drop, because after April 9th, his ERA was 15.43! A guy with an ERA over 12 isn’t a likely candidate to be added to the rotation, but he was. His first start was April 25th in Baltimore, actually. He went five, threw 78 pitches that game, and was not terribly stretched out, in a spot start for Mr. Anna Benson. Scott never left the rotation after that. While I do not believe it’s a realistic option, just seeing his name mentioned with the words “Cy Young” in the same sentence is nothing short of totally amazing. I know great players can come from any round (as evidenced of what the 62nd round once produced in Mike Piazza), but the fact that we’re talking about a potential Cy Young performance from a 30th round Texas Rangers self drafted starter is just stunning. I know Kevin Millwood is technically the staff ace, but wow, is Feldman pitching like it. If we make it to the playoffs, I know who I want in there easily multiple times in a five game series. :)
Scott last night went 6.2 innings, allowed just four scattered singles, no runs, and a couple of walks. Left with 102 pitches thrown, and two guys on base, so he was pulled before it got out of hand. His performance Friday night lowered his ERA from 3.72 to 3.62.
Scott wasn’t the only pitching story – Neftali Feliz took over for Scott and threw the final 2.1 innings of the game. As good as Feldman is, you look at Feliz and go – “Oh wow” – if his numbers hold up like they do now, it would be stunning. I don’t think it will, there will be a crash, or an adjustment, a comedown, or whatever you want to call it at some point, but Feliz is fantastic, too. Last night he went 2.1 innings for the save, allowed NO hits, NO walks, and struck out two. He lowered his ERA to 0.41. ZERO POINT FOURTY STINKIN’ ONE! Wow. Can he be a weapon in the playoffs.
I mean who would have thunk it? The Rangers have been out of the playoffs for a decade now, and when we got back? We were led there by our pitching. Just amazing.
On the other side of the ball, we didn’t exactly destroy Baltimore, but had a decent amount of offense. Double by Davis, home run by Cruz, and six singles accounted for our runs. Andrus & Byrd had two hits each, the rest were all 1fors. The RBI’s came from Byrd, Cruz, Pudge, and two by Chris Davis on his double.
It’s a lot of fun to be in this race, isn’t it?