Tanner Scheppers' last straw had to have come on Thursday, at least that's what Rangers fans are hoping.
The setup man-turned-starter surrended yet another big inning — the same ailment that's plagued him all year — and failed to get out of the third inning after he was staked to a 3-0 first-inning lead that he quickly squandered.
Scheppers was an elite setup man last season and inexplicably was named the Opening Day starter this year — his first career start — and it's been a failed experiment so far. The righty has allowed 20 earned runs in his four starts and has an ERA of 9.82.
Shifting him back to the bullpen would theoretically make it better, but the concern now is whether Scheppers' confidence has just been shaken beyond repair with his awful four-game stint as a starter. With Matt Harrison likely a bit more delayed now in his return to the big-league mound, the question is, how do the Rangers replace Scheppers in their rotation?
The first two thoughts are either Nick Tepesch, who had a rookie year last season between the rotation and bullpen but struggled in spring training and was sent to the minors, and then there's Nick Martinez, who made one start in Tampa Bay earlier this season and looked really good doing it despite having not started by five career games above the Single-A level.
Martinez pitched for Double-A Frisco on Thursday — so he's on the same schedule as Scheppers. That move would make the most sense and would have him making his second career start in Oakland on April 22.
Whatever happens, Scheppers has to be finished as a starter. He never seemed to have starter stuff or starter mentality, and that's been proven. As we said above, at this point, you just hope he can have a seamless transition back to the bullpen and be a valuable piece to the winning pen again.