Monday Morning Manager in Tampa Bay

They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 So it is Memorial Day and the Rangers are in first place after, as Bob Uecker would put it, “He missed the tag! He missed the tag!”

Somehow Mike Napoli was safe on Sunday afternoon, Nelson Cruz hit a home run and the Rangers were spared the agony of having to debate Neftali Feliz one more time.

The two most scrutinized people in baseball – especially with the Rangers – are the manager and the closer. They sit up late at night like Atticus Finch reading the newspaper in the courthouse square waiting for Scout and Jem to disperse the mob while everybody else pretty much gets a free ride.

But the starting pitching is still good, the offense has Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz back and the defense…well the Rangers are still inexplicably last in the American League in defense.

Still, 60 percent of the teams in first place on Memorial Day over the past 15 years have gone on to post-season play. That includes the Rangers from last season but the division wasn’t as tight as it this season.

By the way, if the season ended today, it would be the Rangers and the Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs. Plus the Phillies vs. the Diamondbacks, who have won 14 of 16, and the

By the way, if you are looking at blown saves, Mariano Rivera and Feliz both have three. Rivera’s ERA is 2.11 while opponents are hitting .244 off him. Feliz has 1.45 ERA and opponents are hitting .190 of him. Rivera has blown just one in May though.

Right now Jose Valverde is the only perfect closer in the American League and he is despite a 3.52 ERA.

1. What is your level of concern about Neftali Feliz?

2. Do you think Brandon Webb will be able to help the Rangers?

3. Does it bother you that the Rangers are last in the league in defense?

4. Do you think the American League West will be this close all season?

5. What should Jon Daniels be doing to help this team?

12 Comments

first – if ya watch the replays, there is no doubt about mike napoli being safe….it was a great call…

i think there is something wrong with neftali. dunno what – but they need to figure it out! putting him in every day and letting him blow save after save isn’t a good thing – for neftali, or for the team.

hey – four mediocre teams makes for a close division. what’re ya gonna do…….

1. Moderate–I’m thinking maybe the league has figured him out. He needs to use something besides his fastball.
2. Sure, why not? Let’s give him a look, anyway. Better now than waiting to see when the division may be on the line.
3. Not really. Playing Young in a different place everyday is a contributor, but that’s the plan, his offense is good, we’re in first, so stick with it.
4. No–2 teams will break out. Which 2? Too soon to tell.
5. Just what he’s been doing. Farm system getting a bit thin, I hear, so load up on the young prospects.

1. I think Feliz needs to get into some games that we’re losing, games in the 8th inning, or go be Round Rock’s closer for a week.

2. No idea. I haven’t seen him pitch. It would be nice to replace Holland in the rotation, but overall the starting pitching has been pretty good.

3. While the Rangers are first in the league in errors, they are not last in the league in defense. The Rangers have great range at every position which makes them more susceptible to errors, because errors only count the balls you get to. (See 2010 gold glove at short stop travesty.) Also, the rangers have a different first baseman every day, and none of them are “true” first basemen, besides Moreland who looks pretty natural in the outfield.

4. It will be if the Rangers are injured all season. The Rangers are the best team in the division when healthy, and the standings will show that once they play a couple months with their full roster.

5.Bullpen. We may have the worst bullpen I’ve ever seen from the Rangers which is pretty disturbing. No lead is safe with these guys, and they must be rubbing off on feliz. Bring in a closer and a good setup guy to give Feliz a little healthy competition. The Rangers have a lot of trading pieces this year, and the first thing that needs to be fixed before we even start talking about the playoffs is the bullpen. Our bullpen would get absolutely shelled if the playoffs started today. The Rangers would be out in 3 or 4 games.

1. Concern level on Feliz is a 5. If there was any chance of us facing KC (against whom all 3 of his blown saves have been) in the post-season, it’d be higher.
2. He probably couldn’t hurt, but I’m not holding out too much hope.
3. Good gravy does it bother me. I’m reaching the limit of what I can chalk up to bad luck.
4. I don’t think it’s likely, but it might happen. Once the season gets underway, I think the teams might start to separate out.
5. Trade Chris Davis for some bullpen help.

1. Concern level for Feliz is about 5-6 for me. I am afraid we might have rushed him back after the injury. He also needs to vary his pitches more…too many fastballs.

2. He couldn’t hurt. Give him the chance.

3. Not too much…although that needs to get better. Not sure why we are having problems with fielding.

4. I think this will still end up being between Anaheim and Texas. Seattle has started playing good ball though. Seattle does have a good staff. If any one team goes on an extended losing streak, it could be bad news.

5. BULLPEN, BULLPEN, BULLPEN. As much as I hate to do it…trade Chris Davis for some help in that area. I was surprised that they sent him down this last time. He was actually starting to hit MLB pitching.

1. I’m a little concerned. It sounds like Neftali needs to be a little more confident about using something other than his fastball. Not sure how to accomplish that – hope Andy Hawkins and Mike Maddux can figure it out.
2. Not sure – signing him was a gamble, Rangers will just need to roll the dice and hope for the best.
3. Yes. None of the current players are rookies, they are all veterans who should be making the routine plays – bet the pitchers are most disappointed about this than the rest of us.
4. As long as all 4 teams stay healthy – yes.
5. Sit tight, see if any players are available at trade deadline who will fill in the holes.

1. Is there an alternative? Didn’t think so.
2. He’ll be needed at some point, probably sooner than later
3. Gee isn’t Adrian Beltre really helping a lot
4. Somebody will pull away
5. He’ll get bullpen help at some point

1. I am not all that concerned, just kinda realizing that he is not that impossible to hit. His fastball isn’t overpowering enough to depend on it so much. Alot of guys can throw 97. When Feliz first came up in 09, he broke 100 routinely. If he has settled in at 96 or 97, he needs to mix it up and develop some offspeed stuff, ore are going to see more of the same. He’s far too predictable right now.
2. Maybe. If he gets healthy, yes. He will be an asset. If not, then of course it’ll be a bust.
3. It’ll even out.
4. Nope. The Rangers have had to deal with the injury bug early. It will hit other teams too. Fatigue will set in, and slumps will happen. It won’t be as easy as last year, but the Rangers and Angels are going to battle it out to the end. There is hope for Oakland and Seattle, but I don’t see them contending for a full season right now.
5. Get Frankie Francisco back. Or someone else worthy of the setup/ closer role.

1. I think Feliz needs to get into some games that we’re losing, games in the 8th inning, or go be Round Rock’s closer for a week.

2. No idea. I haven’t seen him pitch. It would be nice to replace Holland in the rotation, but overall the starting pitching has been pretty good.

3. While the Rangers are first in the league in errors, they are not last in the league in defense. The Rangers have great range at every position which makes them more susceptible to errors, because errors only count the balls you get to. (See 2010 gold glove at short stop travesty.) Also, the rangers have a different first baseman every day, and none of them are “true” first basemen, besides Moreland who looks pretty natural in the outfield.

4. It will be if the Rangers are injured all season. The Rangers are the best team in the division when healthy, and the standings will show that once they play a couple months with their full roster.

5.Bullpen. We may have the worst bullpen I’ve ever seen from the Rangers which is pretty disturbing. No lead is safe with these guys, and they must be rubbing off on feliz. Bring in a closer and a good setup guy to give Feliz a little healthy competition. The Rangers have a lot of trading pieces this year, and the first thing that needs to be fixed before we even start talking about the playoffs is the bullpen. Our bullpen would get absolutely shelled if the playoffs started today.

1. Feliz just needs to work through it….He’ll figure it out
2. Just don’t know how Brandon Webb can help us this year (knock on wood) barring injury to one of our starters….and then we have Hunter and Feldman….no I just don’t see it…I see the spectre of McCarthy.
3. Ron Washington must be Peeeeeeved over it….Just lsoppy and the missed plays are as bad as the errors.
4. The mariners are making it interesting and Oakland has some great pitching….
5. How close is O’day…I think Tateamya is helping the bullpen…but still might be nice to get another puzzle piece for Chris Davis.

Firstly- the Napoli tag… Yeah, he was safe… but how many of us would be saying “it was obvious he got under the tag!” if it had been Alex Gordon beating Yorvit Torrealba? **puts soap box away**

1. I like that Washington has enough faith in his players to let them fight out of a slump. I’m not “as” concerned about Feliz as I could be, because his last two blown saves have both been because of homeruns… in other words, one bad pitch to a good hitter. I would be far more concerned if his blown saves were situations where a team had to come back by three runs and they did so by hitting singles and doubles. I’m not sure how wise it is to let Feliz continue to bear the weight of the 9th inning while he is still scared about his shoulder, however.

2. Absolutely. In what capacity? I don’t know yet. In other words, you can’t have a two-time Cy Young winner hanging around and NOT have it help in some way. For example, we had Cliff Lee for a couple months and got to the World Series… CJ Wilson, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland have all pitched above expectations. You can blame the influence of Cliff Lee for at least some of it. At the absolute least, those right-handed pitchers in Frisco are about to get a lot better.

3. Yes, but only because it bothers me any time the team defense is wonky. Beltre–> two time gold glover. Andrus –> future gold glover. Michael Young–> gold glove. There is something not right with these guys heads… unless Beltre just needs a backstop of a first baseman to get outs on a consistent basis.

4. Not really. If the Mariner’s offense is as legit as it has appeared to be, this will boil down to a three team race. The Rangers and Angels are both on the verge of breaking out is a big way. The Athletics are built to win a lot of 1-0, 2-1 ball games, and the offensive firepower in the division isn’t going to allow for too many of those down the stretch. What I find far more telling than the tightness of the division is the fact that at the start of today, all four teams in the AL West were at .500 or better. The only other division that could claim four or more teams better than .500? The AL East. Go figure.

5. If you had asked me last week, I would be telling you about right-handed bullpen relief. However, Tateyama has been a pleasant surprise and Lowe seems to have rediscovered his right arm. I’m still not sold on the solidity of the bullpen, just because I have a beef with Dave Bush, Michael Kirkman is a question mark, and Ollie & Artie have been overworked this early in the season. If I’m daydreaming, I would think about swapping Derek Holland for a starting pitcher who has at least four teams that his lifetime ERA is below 4.50 against…

1. I think Nefti will be fine. The mental part of the game is tough and I believe that is where he is having problems. Because of that, his stuff is no longer “electric” as many of us saw it.
2. Not sure on Webb. Good if he can, but if he cannot, we don’t lose anything. He was always going to be a bonus for us. I hope that happens.
3. Just win baby. I know that defense is still a priority so they will get it together. They are in first with inconsistent defense. They can pull away with more consistency.
4. No. I agree that at least two teams will pull away from the pack.
5. JD should do the same thing he has been doing. Seize any opportunity to make the team better without making panic moves. He’s done pretty good recently at doing that. I can’t wait to see what his next bargain will be. Keep the faith. We are not in a bad position and the sky is not falling.

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