Tanner Scheppers has been one of the few pleasant surprises for the Texas Rangers this season — transitioning from a prospect who consistently failed to live up to expectations to a bona fide MLB set-up man and potential closer-in-waiting.
Scheppers is sporting a tidy 1.70 ERA this season, and that's after some recent struggles that ruined his sub-1.00 ERA he had for much of the first half of the season. The 26-year-old seems to have finally found his way and turned into an effective MLB pitcher.
Over the weekend in Cleveland, Scheppers was nothing more than a 26-year-old kid and depending on who's story you believe, he made a mistake.
After Jason Frasor was tasked to throw three innings of relief for the first time in his career, which culminated in him allowing a walk-off homer in the 11th inning, reporters asked why Tanner Scheppers wasn't available for the game, leaving Ron Washington with only Joe Nathan and Neal Cotts to go to in place of Frasor, who Washington wanted to try to get one more inning from.
Scheppers hadn't thrown much in recent days and it was a mystery as to why he wasn't available. Later that night, the story came out that Scheppers had a shiner and a cut on his nose from apparently being "sucker-punched" by some random troublemakers on the streets of Cleveland as he left dinner Thursday night.
Tragic story, to say the least.
But not so fast. Reports began surfacing Saturday that Scheppers wasn't randomly attacked, but instead was mouthing off and was the victim of a good ol' fashioned bar fight, at 2:30 a.m. the night before a game for a team that is reeling and spiraling out of control.
Not exactly what you want from a key piece of your bullpen — the one strength the Rangers have right now.
The Rangers released the following statement on Sunday:
"Following today's reports, the Texas Rangers are in the process of investigating the incident involving Tanner Scheppers on Thursday night. The club has been in contact with officials from the Cleveland Police Department and the Cleveland Indians. Until our investigation is complete, no one from the organization will have any further comment on this matter."
No public comment, that is. But you can bet your bottom dollar Washington had some words for Scheppers in Sunday's 45-minute closed-door meeting following the Rangers' 6-0 loss to complete a three-game sweep by Cleveland.