ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the first time since June 19, Scott Feldman will take the mound as the Texas Rangers' starter in the first game of their four-game series against the Oakland A's on Thursday. Feldman got the nod after Colby Lewis was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with forearm tightness.
Feldman has been juggled between the bullpen and rotation all season. He made five of his first six appearances in relief and was in the middle of his second stint in the bullpen when he was told that he would be starting Thursday. Feldman said that the best way he can describe his role is as a utility pitcher.
"It was tough at the beginning of the year but I think I’ve sort of gotten used to what my role is, whatever you want to call it,” he said. "In the perfect world, which it’s not, I would like to know what I’m doing all the time. But for right now, this is fine. I just have to keep playing baseball.”
It's no secret that Feldman has struggled as a starter this season. He is 1-6 with 6.00 ERA in 42 innings pitched, losing his first six starts.
But as much as Feldman has struggled with things that he can control to an extent, he has had almost as much bad luck. He has seven unearned runs this season (tied for fourth in AL) and his offense has only given him an average of 3.60 runs of support per nine innings through eight starts, the lowest average on the roster.
To his credit, Feldman has managed to improve. He was able to lower his ERA from 7.01 to 6.00 in his last three starts, posting a 4.41 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.
“I think that starting with that San Francisco start things have been getting better and better," Feldman said. "It took me a long time to feel like that.”
Just before the series with San Francisco was when Feldman was at his worst. On June 4 against the A's, Feldman matched a career-high with eight earned runs in a dismal second inning. He only made it through 1 2/3 innings in what turned into a 12-1 drubbing at the hands of the Rangers' AL West rivals.
Although he did break his losing streak, in a sense Feldman gets a chance at redemption as a starter against the same team that gave him such a shellacking. Feldman admitted that for him, Thursday's start is a bit of a revenge game.
“That was an embarrassing start," Feldman said. "I had all of my family and friends there and they just whooped my butt. Hopefully I can go out there and do a little bit better job this time.”