Tanner Scheppers making case for playoff inclusion

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tanner Scheppers knows that as the Texas Rangers play out this stretch and inch closer to the postseason the coaching staff and front office are busy formulating a playoff roster. And Scheppers is making a case to be on it. Just don't talk to him about it.

"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.