Heading into the all-star break, Tanner Scheppers was just a shell of his old self.
After roaring out to a fantastic start this season in his first full-time big-league work and becoming an entrenched MLB set-up man, the 26-year-old righty hit a wall. And it wasn't much of a surprise, as the Rangers were riding their fantastic bullpen especially hard in the season's first half while guys like Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch were struggling to get through five innings as a starting pitcher.
Since the break, and specifically in August, when the Rangers' starters have made a habit of working deeper into games, the bullpen has been breathing new life, and Scheppers is an ultimate example.
On Wednesday night in the Rangers' comeback win over Milwaukee, Scheppers might have been at his best, or at least going back to the beginning of the season when he started the season with an 11-game stretch of not allowing a single earned run.
Scheppers came in for the eighth inning after the Rangers had taken the lead in the bottom of the seventh and made mince-meat of the Brewers' lineup, including two guys who had killed Rangers pitching.
Scheppers induced a quick Carlos Gomez groundout and then fanned two straight, Juan Francisco, who hit two homers off starter Matt Garza, and Scooter Gennett, who had two homers in Tuesday's Brewers win. He did all of that in a grand total of eight pitches.
It was a filthy outing for Scheppers, who has shown this year that he can be relied upon as a set-up man and might even have "all-star closer" in his future. Maybe all he needed was a break. It's certainly looking that way.