So That's the Bullpen We've Waited For - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Red Fever
Complete coverage of the Texas Rangers

So That's the Bullpen We've Waited For



    When the Texas Rangers dealt for Baltimore's Koji Uehara and San Diego's Mike Adams last weekend, it instantly bolstered the team's glaring weakness in the bullpen.

    On Thursday, we finally got to see how things would work — hopefully quite often — down the road this season.

    After Alexi Ogando hit a stumbling block in the seventh inning after getting the first out, Ron Washington came to get Ogando and replaced him with Darren Oliver to face a lefty.

    Oliver needed five pitches to get the out. Washington came out again, and brought in Uehara to face a righty. He needed three pitches to get the final out to hold on to the 5-2 lead.

    Adams pitched the eighth inning, allowing one hit, but needed just eight pitches to get three outs.

    That brought in Neftali Feliz, who's been under public scrutiny from both Washington and the front office (Nolan Ryan) for his passive body language and approach as of late.

    Feliz looked like the Feliz of 2010, when he saved 40 games to earn Rookie of the Year honors, as he needed just 16 pitches to retire the side in the ninth as no one really came close to hitting him.

    Feliz struck out two batters with his high heat, hitting 99 mph a few times, and looked like a closer.

    If the bullpen can be like that the rest of the season, the Rangers should be fine if the starters can get through six innings, which hasn't been a problem so far this season.

    The nice thing about acquiring Adams and Uehara is that it allows Washington to use guys like Oliver and Yoshi Tateyama as situational guys against lefties and righties, respectively, and Mark Lowe has a middle innings guy. Those roles are more suited for those guys than eighth-inning roles.

    Also, the idea is still very strong that Feliz will move to the rotation next season, especially if C.J. Wilson goes elsewhere, which at this point is sadly expected. Adams could easily step in as the team's closer.

    After all the struggles this team has had in the late innings this year, it was nice to see a plan finally come together.