Banister's Role-less Pen Carrying Rangers in Streak | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Banister's Role-less Pen Carrying Rangers in Streak

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 21: Manager Jeff Banister #28 of the Texas Rangers watches from the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 21, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Jeff Banister went out on a limb a little more than a week ago when he decided to take the certainty out of the team's bullpen roles and just go with "feel" and "matchups" in determining who pitches when.

    No longer was Keone Kela the team's seventh-inning guy. Shawn Tolleson wasn't the setup man, and Neftali Feliz definitely wasn't the closer.

    The only guy that seems to have locked up a role is Tolleson, who has converted 5 of 5 save chances since Feliz was demoted. Ross Ohlendorf has a save in this current win streak, and he's got a few holds to go with it. Tanner Scheppers is back and is pitching better than he has in a couple of years, and Kela is still showing tons of promise as a possible closer-in-the-making.

    And that rag-tag group of thrown together relievers? Well, they've been a huge part of this current seven-game winning streak, in which time the Rangers' starting rotation has faltered a few times.

    The core four of the Rangers' new look bullpen — Tolleson, Ohlendorf, Kela and Scheppers — has worked 16 innings over those seven games and have combined to allow just two runs. The same group has fanned 16 and walked five. This doesn't include Alex Claudio, who worked a career-high 3 1/3 innings of relief in Phil Klein's disastrous start on Monday.

    Will this last? It's quite possible that it won't, but right now, it's working and it's making Rangers baseball fun to watch again.