Feldman's folly comes in sixth
Righty allows six earned runs; Hamilton clubs 18th homer
NEW YORK -- The Rangers just can't win when Scott Feldman is on the mound and that doesn't seem to be entirely his fault.After all, a 4.55 ERA from an American League starting pitcher isn't too bad, especially for the Rangers. But that still hasn't been good enough to get both him or the Rangers more than just one win during his nine starts. Feldman gave the Rangers five strong innings on Friday night before the Mets got to him with four in the sixth and pulled away for a 7-1 victory at Shea Stadium. Josh Hamilton's 18th home run in the top of the first inning accounted for the Rangers' only run as they lost their second straight game. Hamilton had two of the Rangers' three hits in seven innings against Mets starter Oliver Perez. Feldman, hitting for the first time in his career, had the other hit.
Feldman singled to lead off the top of the sixth inning and was still hanging out there when Hamilton singled with two outs and Milton Bradley drew a walk to load the bases. But Perez struck out David Murphy to end the threat. That was the Rangers' only at-bat with runners in scoring position on the night.The Rangers tied a season low with just three hits and are now 7-14 when the opposing team starts a left-hander. Perez went seven, allowing all three hits and three walks while striking out eight. Feldman is now 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA in his nine starts and the Rangers are 1-8 in those nine games. Since the start of the 2000 season, the Rangers have had just 15 pitchers make at least nine starts in a season and finish with less than a 4.55 ERA as a starter. Six of his nine starts have been classified as quality starts and Friday was headed that way until the Mets erupted in the sixth. "He's handled himself well," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If he keeps on doing that, this team will certainly score runs. His job is to not worry about that. His job is just to keep his team in the game and he does that." The Rangers are also scoring an average of 4.39 runs per nine innings when Feldman is on the mound as a starter. That's not exactly poverty but -- if he had enough innings to qualify -- it would place him 30th out of 46 starters among those AL pitchers with enough innings to be considered qualifiers for the ERA title. "Scott has been a little unfortunate in his starts," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "But he's shown us a lot. He's hung in there late in the game in most of his starts and has good command of three of his four pitches. He's doing a great job, we're just not putting up runs for him." The Mets manufactured their first three runs off Feldman. Jose Reyes led off the first inning with a single, went to second on a hit-and-run groundout, to third on a balk and scored when Carlos Beltran smacked a two-out grounder just past first baseman Chris Shelton for an RBI single. Feldman walked Carlos Delgado and the Mets then put runners on second and third with a double steal. That put Beltran in position to score on third baseman German Duran's throwing error after a great stop on Marlon Anderson's grounder. "I ran into a bad tempo in the first inning," Feldman said. "After that, I was going along pretty good." The Mets added another run in the fifth when Reyes reached on an infield single, stole second, went to third on Luis Castillo's grounder to first and scored on David Wright's sacrifice fly. That gave the Mets a 3-1 lead. Feldman was still on his way to another quality start before everything fell apart in the sixth. He couldn't get anybody out, even though he was facing the bottom half of the Mets order. "They were really aggressive that inning," Feldman said. "I was leaving my pitches ... not exactly where I wanted them. I was catching too much of the plate and they came out swinging. I ran into a bad inning." Delgado doubled and scored on Anderson's single. Brian Schneider then singled and Endy Chavez doubled, scoring another run and giving the Mets a four-run lead, putting runners on second and third. Josh Rupe took over and gave up a two-run single to Oliver Perez. "I'm not frustrated," Feldman said. "I'm doing what I want to do. In a way it is a little frustrating because you want to win every time out. But I'm not frustrated with anything else. I'm just trying to go deep in the game and keep them from scoring. That's all I can do."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.