Young pitchers get Fenway experience
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers open a three-game series with the defending World Series champion Red Sox on Monday at Fenway Park. The Rangers are scheduled to start right-hander Tanner Scheppers and left-handers Martin Perez and Robbie Ross.
It will be the first time any of those three start a game at Fenway Park. Ross and Scheppers have both made three relief appearances there while Perez has never pitched in the oldest ballpark in baseball.
"When I was young, I looked at those stadiums on television," Perez said. "To be able to pitch in that stadium will be great for me."
"Obviously there is a lot of history and it's an awesome field," Ross said. "It's just fun to pitch off a mound that so many great pitchers have been on and so many great athletes have played there. It's just exciting."
Scheppers goes first. It will be his second Major League start and first since Opening Day, when he allowed seven runs in five innings against the Phillies.
"They have a great team so the thing for me is I'm itching to get back out there," Scheppers said. "It's special playing there with all the history and the environment. It makes for a lot of fun."
It's not always fun for an opposing pitcher. Charlie Hough is in the Rangers Hall of Fame but was 4-3 with a 5.21 ERA in 11 starts and two relief appearances at Fenway while pitching for Texas. Manager Ron Washington said his young pitchers should welcome pitching on a big stage like that.
"I just hope they execute their pitches as they did as relievers, just do it longer," Washington said. "I get butterflies when I go into Boston. I just hope those butterflies don't turn into moths."