Lightning does not strike twice.
Scott Feldman made the most of his chance to fill in for fatigued starters last week when he shut out the Rays over six innings in Texas. Feldman's success, combined with the diminishing returns from Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando, led some people to wonder if he might worm his way into the discussion for a starting spot come the postseason. It is back to wondering about just how they are going to make sense of Ashton Kutcher joining "Two and a Half Men" for that crowd, though, because Feldman came hurtling back to Earth on Monday night.
The Rays scored four times against him in five innings in Tampa and the Rangers dropped a game closer to the Angels in a 5-1 loss. Feldman wasn't awful, but he wasn't good enough to make you think someone else should be dropped from the rotation to make room for his stylings either. Ron Washington confirmed as much after the game by dropping his trademarked phrase on the proceedings.
"We're not in the business of resting people," Washington said. "That's not the way baseball go."
Baseball sometimes does go in the direction of resting people, but Washington's still making the right move here.
Harrison returned to the rotation on Sunday night and Ogando, who threw a scoreless inning of relief on Monday, will be back on the hill Saturday. The rest seemed to do Harrison well against Boston and the team has to be hoping to see something similar from Ogando this weekend.
They need to see something from Ogando now or in the next couple of weeks for a couple of reasons. The first is obviously the drive to win the division, a quest that can't seem to find its way to completion despite the Rangers making it clear that they're a better overall team than the Angels. Ogando coming back to earlier form would make it easier to finally end this race.
The second is that they can't simply rest Ogando or use him in brief relief roles and then send him out to start a playoff game. He's thrown so many innings above his previous top total that you can't just assume that rest will revitalize his arm. In a short series against either the Red Sox or the Yankees, one bad start can sink the team and it isn't a risk the Rangers can take.
As of now, the bigger question is what the team does if Ogando doesn't show any signs of snapping out of his funk. No matter how much you'd like things to work out differently, some guys just run out of gas at exactly the wrong moment. That's the way baseball go.