May 23, 2012

Feldman, Texas Rangers are slammed in Seattle

Five walks and a grand slam do in Scott Feldman.

SEATTLE -- Scott Feldman has been told that he will start again the next time Neftali Feliz's empty spot in the Texas Rangers' starting rotation comes up again.

That game arrives Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark against a Seattle Mariners team that patiently waited out Feldman on Wednesday and finally took advantage of the free passes he had been giving them.

Feldman walked five batters and surrendered a grand slam to Alex Liddi in the fifth inning, and Kevin Millwood tossed six scoreless innings as Seattle beat the Rangers 5-3 to close out a three-game series.

The loss cost the Rangers a second straight series victory and left them at 3-3 on a six-game road trip. They also ended a stretch of 20 games in 20 days with a 10-10 mark.

The loss apparently has not cost Feldman another start, as there are no other viable options immediately available. Feldman, though, was more concerned about finding the strike zone than his long-term future in the rotation.

"Walking that many guys, I was kind of dodging bullets the whole day," Feldman said. "Finally, they got me in the fifth. But it's been like that the last couple times I've gotten the ball, just bad command. I've got to get back where I was at the end of camp -- confident in all my pitches and throwing strikes."

Feldman is planning to throw twice before his next start, including a possible session of live batting practice, to help him zero in. He said that his sinker was fine, aside from the one he threw to Liddi, but he couldn't command his other pitches.

The Mariners scored once in the second after Feldman walked the first three hitters of the inning. But he retired the next nine, a streak that was snapped with a walk to Michael Saunders to start the fifth.

After a Mike Carp single and an error on Ian Kinsler on a pickoff play, Feldman got Brendan Ryan to ground out for the first out.

Feldman then walked Dustin Ackley intentionally to load the bases for a possible inning-ending double-play grounder, but Liddi didn't cooperate.

"He's a sinker pitcher, and it was a situation where we just needed him to get the ball down," manager Ron Washington said. "He ended up getting it up, and Liddi took advantage of it."

The Rangers' potent offense was largely silenced during the series. They scored six runs in the three games and had only 15 hits in 27 innings.

They waited until the eighth inning to get started Wednesday. Josh Hamilton doubled in Kinsler with one out, and Adrian Beltre followed with a two-run homer.

Seattle, though, ended the game by retiring the final five Rangers hitters. Millwood (3-4) has thrown 17 consecutive scoreless innings and has won three straight starts.

He twice stranded Rangers runners at second base.

"You have to give some credit to Millwood," Washington said. "We had some opportunities out there, and he made some pitches when he had to."

Feldman (0-2) couldn't make the one pitch he needed to make, but believes he can be better with more opportunities. There are no guarantees how long he will be in the rotation during the two months it will take Feliz to recover from a sprained ligament in his right elbow.

The Rangers have interest in free agent Roy Oswalt, whom they watched throw Friday at his home in Mississippi. But the right-hander hasn't faced any hitters and is thought to be a month away from a major league game.

Alexi Ogando, an All-Star starter last year, is stretched out only to two innings and would need up to three weeks before he could handle a 100-pitch workload.

He would also leave a significant hole in the bullpen.

Washington was hesitant to jump to conclusions based on one Feldman start.

"I don't think you can put that on Scotty like that," Washington said. "There are decisions to be made, and we'll make those decisions."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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