OAKLAND, Calif. — Scott Feldman stood at his locker, eyes wide, head shaking, unable to quite make sense of what had happened to him a couple hours earlier.
Facing the team that has been the worst offensive team in the league this year, Feldman gave up eight runs in one horrific night.
“I felt great,” the Texas Rangers’ right-hander said after the 12-1 loss to the Oakland A’s on Monday night at the Coliseum. “I did everything in my prep this week. Everything went well. I went out and had a good first inning (1-2-3, with two strikeouts) and the second inning I ran into some trouble.”
“I hung a pitch and (Brandon) Inge hit it out, and after that they just kept getting hits. Hit after hit after hit. I did leave a few pitches up there, but they also kept finding holes. It was like a runaway truck with no brakes. I couldn’t really stop the bleeding.”
Seven consecutive A’s hitters reached base. This was a team that came into the game batting .209 and had been shut out 11 times in its first 54 games.
Manager Ron Washington was also at a loss explain just what went wrong for Feldman. He did say that he was at least throwing strikes, which was some consolation.
“I wish some of those balls they hit would have found somebody,” Washington said, “but it wasn’t like he was walking people. They are a major league club and tonight they swung the bats.”
The question Washington now faces, although he didn’t seem ready to face it in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s game, is whether Feldman stays in the rotation. Feldman stepped in after Neftali Feliz went on the disabled list, and he hasn’t made it through the fifth in any of his four starts.
“I don’t think I had time to think about anything like that,” Washington said.
When pressed he conceded: “We don’t have a lot of options.”
The ideal replacement would be Roy Oswalt, but he’s made only one minor league start so far for a total of two innings. He’s not projected to be ready for at least another two weeks. Another alternative might be Robby Ross. The reliever followed Feldman to the mound Monday and worked a crisp 2 1/3 innings, retiring six of the eight batters he faced and erasing one of the runners with a double play. He hasn’t pitched three innings in a game yet this season.
Feldman said he hopes Washington sticks with him.
“Everyone has bad games,” he said. “I’m hoping I can get the ball again and try to right the ship.”
In the meantime, he said he’s going to watch some video of this performance, but not too much.
“You’ve got to have a short memory on something like that,” he said. “I’ll look and see if there’s something I was doing that can be fixed.”
Washington said the numbers from Feldman’s last three starts — 15 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings — aren’t indicative of how he’s pitched.
“Against Seattle (on May 23) one pitch cost him, a grand slam,” Washington said. “The next time he faced them (on May 29), it was a ground ball we didn’t make a play on. Tonight was one of those nights it didn’t fall in place for him. He certainly put us in a good spot to be in the ballgame the first two times. I don’t see it like you see it.”