Throughout last season and even into 2013, the Texas Rangers couldn't get past the Oakland Athletics' bullpen. They continued to get beat by the trio of Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour, and most of the time, they weren't even threatened by the Rangers' bats.
On Tuesday, the Rangers' luck began to change, at least for a short time as the Texas bullpen got the best of Oakland's on a night when Derek Holland saw a great start turn into a very mediocre night, but the Rangers' bullpen helped him out of it.
Two home runs in the top of the 10th inning proved to be the difference for the Rangers, despite the best efforts of Rangers closer Joe Nathan to cough the lead back up in the bottom of the 10th. Before Nathan came in, the Rangers got some big-time performances from Robbie Ross, Jason Frasor and Tanner Scheppers, who picked up the win.
Scheppers, in particular, continued his stellar season with two perfect innings of unhittable stuff with a fastball that reached 98 mph on the stadium radar as well as effective off-speed stuff. Scheppers is now 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA and eight holds as arguably the most pleasantly surprising player the Rangers have seen this season, much in the way Ross was back in 2012 except possibly even bigger given the Scheppers is being used in a primary set-up role and not a sixth- and seventh-inning guy like Ross was last year.
The Rangers and A's have two of the better-constructed bullpens in baseball, and on Tuesday night the Rangers finally got the best of the A's in Oakland.