Texas Rangers April MVP- Tanner Scheppers
With a little over a month into the 2013 season and the Texas Rangers find themselves tied for the best record in baseball. While it has been no secret that the Rangers pitching staff has been carrying them (3.02 ERA, best in all of baseball) while the offense tries to get rolling. After a weekend sweep of the red hot Boston Red Sox, Texas fans are starting to to get the feeling that this team may be destined for something special.
The early surprise thus far into the season has been the outstanding work of the pitching staff. Many people around baseball thought the Rangers chances would sink after the rash of injuries that have hit the club over the last several months. With pitchers like Colby Lewis and Martin Perez are on the mend, it seems like everyone on the staff have raised their game to help propel the team to its hot start.
Though the first 31 games there are few options for April’s MVP, Yu Darvish (5-1 2.56 ERA) and Justin Grimm (2-1 2.28 ERA) come to mind. However, the most important piece this year had been the emergence of Tanner Scheppers in the 8th inning.
Scheppers is looking to make 2013 as his first full season in the big leagues and thus far he is not disappointing. After experiencing limited success last year (1-1 4.45 ERA 32 innings pitched) Scheppers is looking to stick in the big leagues for good this season. So far, so good. Appearing in 14 games, Scheppers is 2-0 with 0.56 ERA and opponents are hitting just .200 against the right hander. More impressively Scheppers has recorded 11 holds out of his 14 outings allowing Joe Nathan to record 8 saves in as many opportunities. The emergence of the Sheppers-Nathan combo at the back end of the bullpen has helped the Rangers essentially shorten the game as these two have been consistently getting hitters out and not relinquishing the lead.
As the calendar turns from April to May, lets all turn our eyes to the back end of the Rangers bullpen to see if they can keep dominating opposing lineups and keep the team headed towards a 4th straight post season.