It's been a long and winding road of success and failure for Texas Rangers relief pitcher Tanner Scheppers, and it took another big detour on Monday afternoon when the Rangers optioned their former elite setup man to Triple-A Round Rock after a rough start to the season.
That start to the season included an ankle injury and opening the year on the disabled list, but since his activation on April 17, things have pretty much gone due south for Scheppers.
In his four innings worked this year, Scheppers has struggled to find his control and it's cost him dearly. He's posted an 11.25 ERA, allowing six hits and four walks to go with four strikeouts. Things hit a head last Sunday in the Rangers' crushing 11-10 defeat by Seattle — a game in which the Rangers held two five-run leads — when Scheppers walked three batters and got one out and was charged with three earned runs.
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Just a couple of years ago, Scheppers was one of the best setup men in baseball, as he posted a 1.88 ERA in 76 2/3 innings. Then, of course, he had an ill-fated move to the starting rotation in 2014 and was the Rangers' failed Opening Day starter before appearing in just eight games and hitting the shelf with elbow soreness.
A trip to the minors might be what Scheppers needs to rediscover his game, or it could be the beginning of the end for a formerly promising star.