Saturday morning Rangers stuff

The Rangers are 18 games over .500 for the first time since the 2004 season.  They haven't been 19 games over .500 since 1999.  This has been a pretty positive year.

Scott Feldman had another solid game yesterday, and Jeff Wilson's game story suggests that the biggest move (or non-move, depending on how you look at it) of the season may have been to leave Feldman in the rotation when Kris Benson, who Feldman had replaced in the rotation when Benson went to the d.l., was activated. 

Putting Feldman in the bullpen in the first place was a dumb decision, a panic move based on fears in spring training that the bullpen was a mess and the decision that, well, maybe Benson wouldn't be terrible in the rotation.  I killed the Rangers for about a month or so over that decision, something that I feel compelled to bring up fairly often because of the recent complaints that I'm anti-Feldman and refuse to give him credit because I didn't think he'd be good.

And I mention this because I figure I'm about to upset some folks again with what will be perceived as "criticism" of Feldman.  Evan Grant's game story suggests that Feldman should be in the mix for the Cy Young Award, something that I've seen suggested elsewhere.  But just like Kevin Millwood wasn't a legit Cy Young candidate earlier in the year, Feldman isn't now.

Feldman isn't in the top 10 in ERA (Millwood, in fact, is 10th, a skosh ahead of Feldman).  He's 10th in ERA+.  He's nowhere near the leaders in innings pitched, in part because he started the season in the bullpen, in part because he doesn't work deep into games. 

If we look at some of the higher-level stats, he's 12th in the A.L. in VORP (Millwood is 11th).  He's 18th in WAR, behind guys like Dallas Braden and Carl Pavano.  He's 21st in FIP.

Scott Feldman has had a very good year.  He's been one of the best 10-20 starting pitchers in the A.L. this year.  But the only real case he has for winning the Cy Young Award is that he's got 15 wins for a playoff contender.  Zack Greinke and, maybe, King Felix are the guys who should be in the mix to win, and there are a half-dozen others who should be getting third place votes.  Neither Feldman nor Millwood should be in that group.

Moving on...

Willie Eyre is a major leaguer again, having been recalled yesterday by the Rangers.

Brandon McCarthy is back in the rotation, replacing Dustin Nippert, and Josh Hamilton hopes to travel to Baltimore today after getting an injection in his back.

Nelson Cruz gets some praise from Jeff Wilson, albeit without some criticism from the manager about his run-producing:

"He’s still not the guy he’s capable of being," Washington said. "As strong as he is, if you keep giving him at-bats, he’ll run into 30 home runs. Now we’ve got to get those 30 bombs and transfer them into 100 RBI. Then, you’ve arrived."

Nelson Cruz is hitting .290/.398/.495 with runners in scoring position.  He just has had a lot fewer opportunities with men on base this year than some of his teammates, in part because of the time missed with injury, in part because of the OBP failings of the guys in front of him, in part because he's hit in the bottom of the lineup much of the year, and in part because of the random benchings that Washington has imposed.

I can't believe I'm sitting here reading about reading complaints from the Ranger manager that the team's best hitter this year -- who has performed with runners on base -- doesn't have enough RBIs.

David Pinto is a fan of Neftali Feliz.

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