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Scott Feldman: King of the Road

Of all the reasons for the Rangers' continued push toward a Wild Card berth -- consistent hitting throughout the lineup, a deep bullpen, contributions from scrap heap players like Andruw Jones and Marlon Byrd -- none may be more significant that the evolution of Scott Feldman into a No. 1 starter.

Rather than a green starter working his way through a season, Feldman has emerged as a legitimate Cy Young contender, a surge that can be credited almost entirely to his work on the road. He won his 12th road game of the season yesterday in Cleveland, breaking the team record for wins away from home with nearly a month left in the season.

With 12 road wins, you'd almost assume that Feldman is a Cy Young shoo-in. In fact he's not, because he has only four wins at home in Arlington. It's rare that a pitcher performs significantly better away from home (well, with the possible exception of Colorado), but that seems to be exactly the scenario in which Feldman has found his success.

So, why is he so good on the road? Well, for one thing, happens to have hit a hot streak when Texas headed out of town for a prolonged stretch. He's won seven straight starts now, and four of those have been on the road. It's also possible that as a contact pitcher, Feldman executes better on the road because he feels less adrenaline than he does at home. Think about it: In Arlington, he might be more apt to try and power a fastball by for a strikeout, pulling from the crowd. On the road, he's probably more likely to try and pitch for another ground out.

Of course, all that is speculative, but one thing isn't: His 0.66 ERA across two September starts. His 4.66 home ERA may give some cause for concern, with his next start coming against the Mariners in Arlington, but if he keeps pitching the way he has the past two months, it hardly seems to matter where he's throwing, or who he's pitching to.

That makes him exactly the kind of weapon the Rangers have lacked in recent years, and a huge reason why they're in the Wild Card race with Boston, and should be right down to the wire.

By Cameron Smith  |  September 10, 2009; 3:06 PM ET
Categories:  Rangers  | Tags: Indians, Rangers, Scott Feldman  
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