ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: Darren Oliver #28 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game Four of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Darren Oliver
Hearts all over the Metroplex dropped on Saturday afternoon when the news came down that Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
And yeah, any time you lose a closer that is perfect on save opportunities this year and has given up one run, not to mention his 40 saves last year, it's not a good thing.
But if there were ever a time for it to happen, the time is probably now. The Rangers have a pretty easy stretch coming up against a few teams they are better than, plus they're all at home where the Rangers have been really tough to beat this season.
The good news for Rangers fans is that the injury appears to not be serious, as Rangers management has said the move was made as a precaution to help rest and preserve the best young arm in their organization.
The solution while Feliz is out appears to be a closer-by-committee approach, and it seems to be a committee consisting of the two oldest players on the roster in Darren Oliver, who got a save Saturday night, and then Arthur Rhodes who came in for a white-knuckle save on Sunday after Brett Tomko came close to blowing a big lead over the Royals.
Oliver and Rhodes are both highly capable, but they're both also on the wrong side of 40, and their required presence in the back of the bullpen takes them out of their preferred 7th-inning role, which might be temporarily occupied by call-up Cody Eppley, who pitched two perfect innings on Saturday night in his major league debut. That was a good thing to see.
It'll also be a welcomed sight when Feliz returns from the DL on May 6th, hopefully Oliver and Rhodes can get the Rangers there unscathed.