It takes more than one start to begin a trend. But Scott Feldman's eight-inning performance on Wednesday was actually a progression of better recent starts.
After earning just one victory in his first eight starts, Feldman has two wins in his last three outings. Yes, the ERA is still too high -- 5.66 in his last three starts. But Feldman has pitched at least six innings in all three of them, a vast improvement over the beginning of the season. The eight innings thrown on Wednesday were the most for him all season. He gave up 5 runs, but had a lead from the first inning on during the game.
Feldman certainly hasn't produced like he did last season, when he had 17 wins and was nearly unbeatable on the road with a ML-high 12 victories away from Arlington. But if he can get his sinker going and work those secondary pitches, he can find his form again. He had better location on his fastball last night. It's a start.
Other thoughts from Wednesday:
* Isn't it nice to see this team send a bunch of guys to the plate in the first inning and give a struggling pitcher a lead? The Rangers showed some good plate discipline with Gavin Floyd, who clearly didn't have great command in the first, and they also found some pitches to hit.
* The prime example of that was Matt Treanor. He got the count to 2-0 and then found a fastball he liked and roped it to left field. Treanor has been a bright spot on this road trip, batting 5-for-16 (.313) with a homer, four RBIs, three strikeouts, two walks and even a stolen base. He's got a .400 on-base percentage. Treanor was really struggling, so anything he can give the Rangers is really big at this point.
* The more I see from Justin Smoak, the more I like with his approach (we talked about that some yesterday). He seemed confused at times this season, trying to do too much (he was aggressive sometimes and patient other times and maybe confused himself). But now, after seeing more and more Major League pitching, he seems to have settled in. Last night was an example of that. He didn't get a hit, but drew two walks and scored a run.