After three fantastic starts from notoriously inconsistent, yet famously talented, starting pitcher Derek Holland, the law of averages caught up with him on Monday night.
Holland cruised through the first three innings before his control became erratic and he ended up allowing six runs in less than six innings to give the Los Angeles Angels a 6-3 lead heading into the seventh inning.
But the Rangers' bullpen stood tall and allowed their bats to get back in the game, eventually winning a 7-6 thriller with a ninth-inning home run from A.J. Pierzynski. Tanner Scheppers had two quality innings of scoreless relief work and Joe Nathan slammed the door shut, striking out Mark Trumbo to end the game.
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Nathan is expected to be dominant, but the story here is Scheppers, as it has been the entire first few weeks of the season.
The hard-throwing righty, who's always had potential but never realized it, is now in the midst of a 10 2/3-inning scoreless streak after retiring six of the seven batters he faced on Monday night. The knock on Scheppers, prior to this year, was always that he threw it really hard, and really straight. That hasn't been the case this year, at least not so far, as Scheppers' movement has been the difference in his level of success.
One of the biggest question marks entering the season (the bullpen) has been one of the Rangers' biggest bright spots so far this season, and the difference between the Rangers' and Angels' bullpen is a big reason why the Rangers are tied for the best record in the American League, and the Angels are four games under .500.