Scheppers Struggles As Rangers Drop Opener 14-10
ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) — The Texas Rangers tagged Cy Young Award winner and Phillies’ starter Cliff Lee for 11 hits and eight runs in Monday’s season-opener in Arlington. Though quite the accomplishment, it wasn’t nearly enough.
First-time starter Tanner Scheppers surrendered seven runs, and Texas’ revamped offense was unable to overcome a sloppy performance by the bullpen as the Rangers fell 14-10 on Opening Day at Globe Life Park.
Scheppers was making history with the start, becoming just the second pitcher since 1945 to make his first major league start in his team’s season opener. Unfortunately for Texas, his inexperience showed.
After an eight-pitch 1-2-3 first inning, Scheppers lost his command in the second. The right-hander walked Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown before surrendering a weak double up the third base line to beat the shift. After walking the no. 9 hitter Tony Gwynn Jr., Ben Revere singled up the middle to extend the lead to 2-0.
“The nerves were fine. I don’t think it had anything to do with it,” said Scheppers following the game. “I just started to get too fine. I just made some bad pitches, and a couple of walks got me.”
Then things really unravelled.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins drove a 1-0 pitch into the right field bleachers for his 200th career homerun and fourth grand slam, pushing the Phillies’ advantage to 6-0. In all, Scheppers threw 38 pitches in the second inning.
But the Rangers rebuilt lineup had an answer.
After a leadoff double from Adrian Beltre in the second, Alex Rios legged out an infield single, and catcher J.P. Arencibia walked to lead the bases. Leonys Martin then hit a sharp single to the gap, scoring Beltre and cutting the lead to 6-1.
Josh Wilson, a non-roster invite to spring training, followed with a double down the left field line, clearing the bases to cut the lead to 6-4.
The Rangers got to Lee again in the third, as Fielder and Beltre collected consecutive singles. Rios then came to the plate and hit a 406-foot shot to left-center field to give the Rangers a 7-6 lead.
“[Wilson] and Martin did a good job of helping us to come back,” said manager Ron Washington. “Beltre swung the bat well; Rios swung the bat well. There’s a lot of good things that happened out there today.”
But the lead lasted only minutes.
Scheppers allowed the tying run in his fourth and final inning, exiting the game with seven earned runs, eight hits, and three walks while striking out two with 93 pitches.
Reliever Pedro Figueroa started the fifth, but didn’t fare any better.
In 1.2 innings of work, the lefty surrendered four earned runs, including a two-run double to former 2005 Rangers draft pick and pinch hitter John Mayberry.
Alexi Ogando, once a contender for the rotation, also struggled, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings.
“One thing about Ogando is, he’s a strike-thrower,” Washington. “He was just a little erratic with his command today. We just need him to get one out, and it took him almost 30 pitches to do it.”
Texas rallied in the seventh inning, loading the bases on reliever B.J. Rosenberg. Arencibia grounded into a double play, cutting the lead to 13-9. Pinch hitter Jim Adduci then singled to cut the deficit to three, but Andrus grounded out to second to end the threat.
Texas will send left-hander Martin Perez to oppose A.J. Burnett in Tuesday night’s 7:05 game.
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