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In a perfect world, Colby Lewis throws seven strong innings before turning the ball over to Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz before the Rangers launch themselves into a celebratory scrum late Thursday night.
Things rarely work out exactly as planned, though. Lewis could stumble early or the Rangers could need a pinch hitter to put some runs on the board before they are able to go to Adams. If that happens, who are the Rangers going to turn to on the mound?
It should be Derek Holland. With Ron Washington making it clear that he's sticking with Matt Harrison as a potential Game Seven starter despite the unexpected day off on Wednesday, Holland becomes a rested arm with no obvious role in the next two days.
Keeping him around to be a long man, the usual role for starters forced into the bullpen, makes no sense. You need there to be a Game Seven in order for there to be a situation wher Harrison spits the bit and using Holland in Game Six can help make that an impossibility. Holland has experience as a reliever, including one appearance against Tampa this year, and he isn't going to be thrown by coming into a game in that role.
It is a bit worrisome to throw such a dramatic change into the mix this close to the finish line, but it is hard to see what other choice Washington can make. Mark Lowe and Mike Gonzalez aren't real options in a big spot, Scott Feldman is better suited for low-leverage innings and Holland simply has a better arm than Darren Oliver. Adams and Feliz are set in their roles, so they won't be in the mix.
That leaves only Alexi Ogando. For most of the playoffs, Ogando has been the guy who stepped into those kinds of situations and saved the day for the Rangers. But he looks just as out of steam right now as he did during his starts toward the end of the season. He's allowed seven hits and five walks in two innings of work during the World Series, numbers that have used up all his chances for the time being.
One of Washington's best traits is the faith that he has in his players. He can't let that faith get in the way of making the moves that he needs to make to get his team their 107th win of this season, though. Ogando is spent, Holland is available and the Rangers should take full advantage of that whenever the moment arises over the next two nights.