Mike Adams has been all but automatic this season.
The veteran set-up man is just one hold shy of his career high for the set-up man's equivalent of the save and has been bridging the game to closer Joe Nathan with great success all year long.
But Tuesday was just one of those nights that all pitchers have from time to time when Adams just couldn't get right. He ended up giving up two runs on two walks and a hit in 2/3 of an inning — not the ideal outing for one of the league's best set-up men.
Finally, Rangers manager Ron Washington had seen enough and went to the bullpen for Koji Uehara, who promptly gave up an RBI single of his own to bring the Cleveland Indians within two runs. That's when Washington went and got his young, hard-throwing righty Tanner Scheppers.
Scheppers delivered, striking out left-handed hitter Michael Brantley to end the inning and keep runners stranded on base to get Nathan the ball with a comfortable enough lead.
Now, over his past 11 outings, Scheppers has pitched 8 1/3 innings and allowed just one earned run with 10 strikeouts and three walks with a nice, crisp 1.08 ERA. He's making a stronger and stronger case to earn a spot on the postseason roster as part of the club's dominant bullpen. He's also valuable in regards to the fact that he's actually quite a bit better against left-handed batters than he is against righties, defying the whole righty-righty, lefty-lefty matchup thing. With the Rangers' shortage of lefties in the bullpen, Scheppers would be a valuable piece to include on the roster come playoff time, especially if Robbie Ross can't get back to full health.