Friday, April 25, 2014
Stocks: Martin Perez up, Scheppers down
By Richard Durrett
It's Friday, and that means the Texas Rangers stock report. The reality is that this is a great time to buy Rangers stock. The team is in first place despite injuries and is starting to get some of those players back. So here's a look at what's up and down for the Rangers right now.
Martin Perez: The young Texas starter has been phenomenal all season, but especially in the past week. Perez has thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings and has two straight complete-game shutouts. He's the first in the American League to accomplish that latter feat since Derek Holland in 2011. Perez is throwing strikes, getting ground balls and letting his defense do the work. The results are deep starts and Rangers wins.
First-inning runs: One big reason the Rangers went out and acquired Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder was to score runs earlier and more often. Texas has scored 13 runs in the first inning in 2014, including five times in the past week. That's helped the starters settle down and get aggressive.
Super subs: Donnie Murphy, Josh Wilson and Michael Choice continue to contribute at the plate and in the field. With Adrian Beltre out the past week (he is scheduled to return Friday night) and Choo dealing with an ankle sprain, they've stepped in and done the job.
Tanner Scheppers: Given an opportunity to start, Scheppers struggled to begin the season and then had injury issues. Right-elbow inflammation landed him on the disabled list, and it's likely he'd go to the bullpen once he returns.
Neftali Feliz: The reports are that he's worked hard in the minors, but the velocity and command continue to be inconsistent. And right now, he's not pitching at all due to "general soreness." He has no structural damage, and the Rangers are hoping he can start throwing again next week.
Catching offense: Robinson Chirinos has done a solid job with the pitching staff, so it's unfair to say his stock is dropping. But he's struggled recently at the plate, and J.P. Arencibia has had a tough time all year. The Rangers' catchers have a .149 batting average, last in the league.