- Scott Feldman has not only become the king of the road but also the king of the Rangers' rotation.
He may not have the resume or the pedigree of a No. 1 starter, but he is pitching like one as Texas goes into the most critical stretch of the season.
Feldman not only broke two club records for winning on the road, but he also won his seventh consecutive decision overall as he pitched the Rangers to a 10-0 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field on Wednesday.
The victory kept Texas within 2 games of Boston in the American League Wild Card race. The Red Sox beat the Orioles, 7-5, Wednesday night. Feldman, 16-4 with a 3.46 ERA on the season, hasn't lost since July 30 against the Tigers, and that was at Rangers Ballpark. He hasn't lost on the road since June 19 in San Francisco, as he has now won eight in a row and 12 overall on the road on this season. Both are new club records.
Feldman's got 16 wins and he's slated to start four more games and the Rangers might still be desperate for wins in the season's last weekend, so Feldman's obviously got a legitimate shot. If Ron Washington sticks to his five-man rotation, Feldman will start at home and on the road against the A's, at home against the Rays, and on the road against the Angels. If Washington were to get a little creative, he could get Feldman five more starts instead of four, by taking advantage of an off day and pitching Feldman (if the game matters) on three days' rest on the last day of the season.
I don't think he'll do that, though. For Feldman to win 20, he'll have to beat the A's twice and beat the first-place Angels and the solid Rays. He's worth watching, though. I mean, Scott Feldman!!!!.*
* Oh, and if you're wondering why you haven't heard more about Feldman, it's because 1) Zack Greinke and Edwin Jackson have taken most of the attention available to big surprises; and 2) Feldman's 3.46 ERA ranks just ninth in the league, and his 95 strikeouts are good for 31st. He hasn't received a great deal of attention because, quite frankly, he hasn't deserved a great deal more.
Elsewhere yesterday (after I posted my post), Adam Wainwright won his 18th but Justin Verlander remained stuck on 16. Wainwright's not a lock for 20, but he certainly jumps to the top of my rankings. Verlander might start four more games so he's not out of the competition, but after losing to the Royals (despite pitching quite well) he's a long shot. My new rankings: Wainwright-Sabathia-Verlander-Carpenter-Feldman, but really it's probably Wainwright or bust.
Oh, and while this is only a tangentially related matter, I have to say that I'm tired of people saying something like this: "I know [my favorite team's best pitcher or hitter] isn't going to win the [Cy Young or MVP] and doesn't deserve to, but shouldn't he at least be in the conversation?"
Quick Answer: No.
Long(er) Answer: No, of course not. Please stop being silly. If you think he might win, we should talk about him. If you think he can't win but deserves to win, we should talk about him. But if he's neither going to win nor deserves to, there's no reason to include him in our deliberations. If we have to talk about every Scott Feldman and Prince Fielder who come along, there will be no end to it.