Texas Rangers Week One: Scott Feldman Establishes Himself As an Elite Starter

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Texas Rangers Week One: Scott Feldman Establishes Himself As an Elite Starter
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The first week of the season is officially in the books and despite the small sample size we have learned a lot, and experienced some major ups, and serious downs. Here is a look at how the first week went.

Game Recaps

4-5 vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Opening Day) W, 5-4

Scott Feldman came out and threw a gem of a game after some early game jitters. Nelson Cruz and Vlad Guerrero paced the offense, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia capped it off with a walk off single in the ninth.

A great way to start the season despite the near heart attack issued at multiple times during the game.

4-7 vs. Toronto Blue Jays L, 4-7

Rich Harden and the bullpen combined to issue 10 walks, two-hit batters, and seven runs. On the bright side Harden did have eight strikeouts, but there is almost no way you have a chance when you put that many men on base.

4-8 vs. Toronto Blue Jays L, 1-3

CJ Wilson showed why he was put in the rotation throwing seven shutout innings and notching nine strikeouts. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as Frank Francisco blew the save allowing three runs in the ninth.

Vlad Guerrero remained red hot getting three hits on what was an otherwise dead night for the offense.

4-9 vs. Seattle Mariners W, 6-2

Colby Lewis made a strong return to Arlington allowing only one run on five hits over seven strong innings. It didn’t hurt that the offense finally found a spark getting 12 hits including Nelson Cruz’s third home run in four games.

4-10 vs. Seattle Mariners L, 3-4

Matt Harrison continued the string of quality starts from Rangers pitchers going six innings and allowing only one run on six hits. But, the blown save bug would strike again as Francisco blew his second save in three games.

Joaquin Arias had another good game with three hits adding intrigue to the battle to see who will stay when Ian Kinsler comes off the DL.

4-11 vs. Seattle Mariners W, 9-2

Scott Feldman followed up his Opening Day no decision with another gem to bring home his first win of the season. He went seven innings and had the highest pitch count of his career at 117.

The offense finally exploded behind another three hit night from Arias, three more from Guerrero, and Michael Young’s first home run of the season, a solo shot. The team had 16 hits, and only David Murphy went hitless, though he did have a sacrifice fly.

What did we learn?

First and foremost I think the strength of our rotation showed its face this week. Harden was the only starter to not go six plus innings, but he did have eight strikeouts.

Scott Feldman deserved the No. 1 pitcher slot on this team as evidenced by two great games. He easily could have been pulled after six innings on Sunday because he was already over 100 pitches, but he wanted to go seven, and he went out and finished his work.

Frank Francisco has lost his dominance. Everyone hopes that his ineffectiveness is just a temporary thing, but for now the closing duties have been handed to Neftali Feliz who after a rough first outing has settled into his role nicely.

Nelson Cruz has finally showed the form that we were all so excited about when he first joined the team. Four home runs in six games is a pretty solid start. He has slotted in nicely behind Guerrero and both have benefited from each other.

I was excited about Guerrero joining the team if for no other reason than that he can’t hurt us anymore. After a first week of hitting .500 with 12 hits, four runs, and three RBI, I am thrilled to have the old Vlad back. He has been the only solid performer on an offense that has struggled to get going.

Arias has been an unexpected offensive weapon collecting eight hits, including two three hit games. He is making it tough on Washington when it comes time for Kinsler to come back.

Conclusion

In an unexpected twist the pitching has been solid, outside of Francisco, and the offense has struggled. Sunday was a good combination of quality pitching and quality offense, and hopefully that will carry over into the road trip.

This will be the longest road-trip of the season in terms of days at 11. It should also show a lot about how good this team really is.

After three games in Cleveland they will be playing three games each in New York and Boston.

Cleveland has lost three straight games, but should be pumped for their home opener with Fausto Carmona on the mound. They are by no means the powerhouse they were in the 90’s, and this should be a good warm-up before heading to the AL East.

New York has started the season 4-2 losing the opening games of both series and winning the last two. Both series were on the road, and the Yankees should also be pumped as they come home to start the season.

They have had a tough stretch to start the season against their division foes the Red Sox and Rays, and their first home stand won’t be much easier with the Angels and Rangers coming to town.

We easily could be 5-1 right now instead of 3-3, but I am pleased with the performances I have seen thus far and look forward to how this team will develop in the coming weeks.

The pitching has been solid, and hopefully the offense turned the corner on Sunday and will keep it going as a team. Here’s hoping for an even better week as we go on the road.

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