ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 5: Neal Cotts #56 of the Texas Rangers pitches during the eighth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 5, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Remember back to the good days when the Texas Rangers were going to back-to-back World Series? It's almost hard to do these days. One of the calling cards of those Rangers teams was the fact that their bullpen was one of the league's best with the likes of pre-surgery Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and others.
None of those names are around anymore, with the exception of Feliz, who had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and is trying to rediscover his velocity but has been reinstated as the team's closer and has done fairly well.
As bad as things are going in Texas right now, the Rangers' bullpen is quietly putting together a pretty fantastic run.
In fact, in the last 21 2/3 innings, the Rangers have allowed a grand total of one earned run and had a spectacular run in Sunday's walkoff win when they saw the bases loaded and then got three straight strikeouts from Shawn Tolleson (two) and Neal Cotts.
Cotts has turned things around after struggling through long stretches this year, Tolleson has been a nice find and young guys like Roman Mendez, Phil Klein and Alex Claudio have come out of nowhere to be really good additions to the pen in recent weeks.
In all, the Rangers have six relievers who have 0.00 ERAs over the last week, seven if you include J.P. Arencibia's scoreless inning in a blowout loss. Klein has been an absolute monster, standing out from all the other good ones with seven strikeouts, no walks and one hit allowed in his last 4 2/3 innings of work.
So in this lost season, we're all grasping for positive aspects and things to look forward to, and if you're a Rangers fan, you're crossing your fingers some of these young guys are quietly building confidence heading into 2015 and the team can put together another stellar bullpen next season.
Of all teams, the Rangers definitely know how much that can help a team.