Rangers Must Choose Between Feldman and Harden For the 2nd Half Rotation
I've put this article off for months now hoping both Scott Feldman and Rich Harden would turn things around and pitch like they have in the past.
Time has now run out.
The Rangers are in good position to make a run at the playoffs and cannot afford to have two holes in the rotation, especially considering the schedule right out of the gate.
Both Rich Harden and Derek Holland should be able to return to the rotation sometime before the trade deadline. When they do the Rangers will have a decision to make.
Feldman or Harden because they can't have both.
Scott Feldman has completely lost control of his sinker and his cutter has not be the same it was last season when he seemed to break a dozen bats a night.
He's the 2010 version of Ryan Drese, another sinkerball pitcher who had an outstanding 2004 season before losing his sinker leading to a disastrous 2005 season in which the Rangers didn't contend.
Sadly, Rich Harden isn't a much better option, but Harden has been more effective this season and doesn't rely on pitch that obviously isn't working.
Barring a trade the Rangers will have to have one of them in the rotation and at this point it appears Harden is the best option.
Can't believe I just typed that.
For all of his troubles, Feldman has experience coming out of the bullpen and is much more durable than Harden.
Perhaps without the pressure of pitch counts and worrying about the next time through the order, Feldman can find his sinker and cutter again. If so, he'll be a much better long man than Dustin Nippert.
In fact, Nippert might be the only pitcher on the Rangers staff having a worse year than Feldman and Harden.
One thing remains clear, the top of the rotation may have different names than it did going into Spring Training but it has pitched the Rangers to a division lead halfway through the season.
Colby Lewis, CJ Wilson and Tommy Hunter are pitching very well keeping the Rangers afloat though the issues with the back of the rotation.
Derek Holland will slide into the fourth spot in the rotation when he returns in a couple of weeks allowing Harden to be the fifth starter.
The Rangers can use off days to skip Harden's starts down the stretch keeping him as fresh as possible.
Either way the Rangers go it's just impossible for them to have much of a consistent hot streak with both Feldman and Harden in the rotation, but with only one they can use off days and a little luck to keep a good thing going.
Then again, if Jon Daniels can use his creativity to deal for Cliff Lee all bets are off on where things settle.