Neftali Feliz has seen more bumps in the road so far in the last 2 weeks than he did just about all of last season. Watching message boards and other Rangers sites, fans have called for manager Ron Washington to use all sorts of combinations, but here is how the Rangers bullpen was built to work.
Long Relief- Dave Bush is the Rangers only current option as far as a long reliever goes. He has been fairly solid this season even though he has not had to work in many games at all. He has only worked 9 games so far and was sporting a ERA in the 2’s until he gave up 5 earned in an inning in a start against the Kansas City Royals. He has been absolutely dominating on the road where he has a ERA under 1.00. Other possible options to be the long reliever are Brandon Webb if he makes a return soon or Derek Holland if the Rangers would rather see Brandon Webb in the rotation.
7th inning- A righty-lefty combo between Arthur Rhodes and Mark Lowe is ideal. With lefties up, Washington often turns to Arthur Rhodes who is only allowing a .150 BAA against lefties this season and was signed this offseason after playing 2010 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
Mark Lowe would be used against righties where he has pitched great recently including an ERA under 1 in the month of May. Other possible options are Tanner Scheppers who is finally getting healthy this season and has shown enough control to be reliable in the late innings.
8th inning- I feel that the 8th and 9th innings are fairly obvious. Darren Oliver continues to do well for the Rangers and is an above average setup man in this league even at his age of 40. Just like Arthur Rhodes, Oliver is showing that age is just a number that critics will point to. Despite having an ERA of 2.45 so far this season, Oliver has 5 losses.
9th inning- You can’t go with anyone besides the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, Neftali Feliz. Although he has struggled slightly lately, he still has a ERA in the mid 1’s and has absolutely filthy stuff. He is without a doubt the best young closer in the game today. Although velocity has dipped slightly he still is great and a clear option to remain as the closer.
You can follow Tyler Paslick on Twitter @tpaslick
Topics: 2011 Texas Rangers, Arthur Rhodes, Brandon Webb, Cincinnati Reds, Darren Oliver, Derek Holland, Doug Davis, Kansas City Royals, Major League Baseball, Mark Lowe, MLB, Neftali Feliz, Rangers Bullpen, Texas Rangers, Tyler Paslick