Reaction: Tanner Scheppers aggressive in relief

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
7:05
PM CT


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Rangers wanted to give pitcher Tanner Scheppers two innings Friday against the Dodgers. Little did Scheppers know he'd have a man on base before he even threw his first pitch.

"Every outing you go to, something different is going to happen," Scheppers said. "That's the best thing about this game; you're always able to learn something."

[+] EnlargeTanner Scheppers
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireTanner Scheppers didn't allow a hit in two shutout innings against the Dodgers.
Scheppers took a step in the right direction during the Rangers' 5-2 loss to the Dodgers. He came on in relief of starter Greg Reynolds (four runs on seven hits in three innings) in the fourth after Reynolds allowed a single to Juan Uribe to lead off the inning.

Scheppers didn't allow a hit during two shutout innings of work.

"Unfortunately I didn’t really mix up my zones and they were able to hit and run," Scheppers said, "but I limited the damage and kept things simple."

It's Scheppers' second consecutive Cactus League outing without allowing a run and his first appearance without surrendering a hit.

Scheppers was aggressive and pounded the strike zone. While consistency has been an issue for Scheppers, pitching coach Mike Maddux said he got on top of the ball and drove his pitches in the zone.

"If that boy ever gains the consistency in his delivery and his execution, he’s going to come fast," Maddux said.

Maddux liked the way SCheppers threw all three pitches, including his changeup. Scheppers has been working on the pitch this spring to mix in with his curveball and fastball. He threw it about six times in different situations Friday.

"He threw them effectively and buried them ahead in the count for strikes," Maddux said.

While he didn't strike anyone out with his changeup, the curveball got the job done twice for Scheppers. Dee Gordon whiffed at a pitch in the dirt, and National League MVP runner-up Matt Kemp struck out on it in the fifth.

Scheppers' two strikeouts Friday matches his efforts in both Cactus League appearances this spring. He hasn't allowed a walk in all three games.

"I feel like I’m getting sharper and getting used to it," Scheppers said. "You’ve got to work on things, and I think it’s coming along."

Other observations:

Napoli returns: Mike Napoli played the entire game as the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 with a single in the ninth.

Napoli missed nearly a week of action due to mild tightness in his left groin. He's slowly working his way back behind the plate. You can read more here.

Snyder homers: Brandon Snyder hit a solo home run to center off a 3-1 pitch from Kenley Jansen in the fifth inning and finished 1-for-2.

"He’s a guy that’s got some power, and it’s not surprising he can do that," first base coach Gary Pettis said. "And he did against a guy that throw throws pretty hard. That was pretty impressive."

Shortstop Alberto Gonzalez picked up a solo shot two batters later.

The home runs from Gonzalez and Snyder were the only runs scored by the Rangers. They finished with four hits in the game.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Martin Perez
WINS ERA SO IP
3 1.86 20 29
OTHER LEADERS
BAL. Martin .315
HRR. Chirinos 2
RBIL. Martin 9
RE. Andrus 11
OPSS. Choo .827
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23