Kauf Drops: Trusting in a Smokescreen?
Image: David Banks/Getty Images
By Todd Kaufmann
Do you remember, not so long ago, when 99.9% of the Texas Rangers’ fan base was calling for Scott Feldman’s head? In fact, they not only wanted his head, they were willing to foot the bill for the ‘Wanted’ posters.
Ok, maybe that’s going a little extreme but this fan base was done with a washed up right-handed pitcher. It also seemed like Feldman was done with Texas after voicing his displeasure about being moved from the bullpen to the rotation and back again.
Thanks to injuries here and there, Feldman would get another shot after winning just one of his first seven starts.
Whatever he did to change his fortunes, or maybe his attitude towards his role, it worked.
I don’t know how I find myself saying this, especially after I was one of those who called him, “Scott Faildman,” but this is the one guy that has been anything near consistent over the last few weeks.
You’re talking about guys like Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, and Roy Oswalt, all of whom have stunk up the joint. Aside from Oswalt coming out of the bullpen that is, where he’s been pretty strong save for one inning against the Boston Red Sox in his last outing.
Since losing his first six starts, Feldman is 5-0 over his next six starts with a no decision coming against the Chicago White Sox back on July 4th. Among those six starts, Feldman has allowed two runs or less in four of them including back-to-back brilliant performances on July 23rd at home against the Red Sox (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) and July 29th at home against the White Sox (8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER).
Without him, there’s no telling where the Rangers would be at this point in the season. Could he possibly be the lone man to congratulate for keeping this team where they are in the AL West? No. But he’s a huge reason for it.
He’ll face off against the Detroit Tigers and the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder on Friday night and although he hasn’t had the greatest success against them during his career with Texas, this seems to be a much better pitcher than we’ve seen in the last few years.
Here’s the other side of that coin and the reason some fans aren’t quick to jump on Feldman’s bandwagon. They’re afraid the other shoe is going to drop and they’re going to get disappointed.
It’s a fair feeling, no doubt.
Can this seriously be real? When was the last time we actually said the words, “Scott Feldman is the only consistent pitcher in the rotation right now?” Can you remember saying those words since 2009?
So it begs the question, are we trusting in a smokescreen? Do we believe something that isn’t real?
As of right now, I’ll take what I’m getting from Feldman and I’ll roll with it. Friday night’s game against Detroit is going to be a big one especially seeing as the Tigers have been a thorn in the side of the Rangers since the 2011 playoffs. Add Prince Fielder to the mix and this battle becomes that much more difficult.
With just under nine hours to go until first pitch, I’ll trust in Scott Feldman. However, I reserve the right to change my mind if things start going south tonight.
Oh, and by the way, if Prince Fielder hits a home run tonight, I don’t want to see ‘what if’ tweets from anyone. The Rangers hung on to Mitch Moreland for a reason and, setting aside the time he missed with an injury, his numbers have been good this season.
Had he not missed any time at all, just imagine where his numbers would be right now.