Tanner Scheppers making case for playoff inclusion
"I'm not thinking about that," Scheppers said after striking out a key hitter in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 6-4 win over Cleveland. "They'll go with the best 25 guys and it will be a good team. I'd like to be on it, but I'm worried about getting outs when I'm in there."
He got a big out Tuesday, coming in for a matchup that manager Ron Washington admitted was "unorthodox."
Michael Brantley pinch hit for Jason Donald with two runners on in a 6-4 game with two outs in the eighth. Washington decided on the right-handed Scheppers against the left-handed Brantley. Why?
"According to our reports and what we read, he (Brantley) is weak on breaking balls," Washington said. "We brought him (Scheppers) in because of his breaking ball and he got two of them over the plate and struck him out with one. We know he's developing. We know he can throw the fastball. But because he can start using his secondary pitches, it's going to make him more effective. And tonight he certainly did that."
But it also shows that Washington has faith in Scheppers' breaking stuff. The young reliever said he's pleased with the movement and location on his slider and curve. On Tuesday, it was the curve. Scheppers started Brantley off with a 96-mph fastball that was fouled off. Then he threw three straight curveballs. The first one was a called strike and the next one missed the zone.
"I figured he'd be sitting fastball," Scheppers said. "So I threw him another breaking ball and he ended up taking it."
The 81-mph curve found the strike zone and the inning was over. So was Scheppers' brief night, but it was another successful one. He now has three scoreless innings in four games since being recalled on Sept. 1 for his second stint with Texas. He's got a 1.02 ERA in his last 22 games with the Rangers.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.