Rangers Sweep Royals, But Who's Gonna Close Now?

A couple times this year I've questioned manager Ron Washington's use -- overuse? -- of Rangers' releiver Neftali Feliz.

Like in the season opener, when Wash inserted Feliz to get the final three outs of a 9-5 win. And two days later when Feliz again pitched in a four-run win. And yet again last week, when he labored through a 31-pitch, three-walk inning of a 4-1 loss to the Angels.

Each time, however, I was told by people who feel pretty strongly about knowing more baseball than me that Feliz "needs the work" or that Wash was right in "just trying to win the game."

Problem: The Rangers' weekend sweep of the Royals, in which they hammered home 22 runs, is overshadowed by Feliz being placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his throwing shoulder.

In four of his 10 appearances this season, the Rangers' closer entered a game in which Texas either trailed or led by 3-plus runs. Hmm. Maybe it's not that big of a deal. The Yankees' Mariano Rivera has appeared three times (in 11 overall games) when New York has had a lead of three runs. He hasn't, however, pitched when the Yankees trailed or when they had a four-run lead.

Nevertheless, I've got a follow-up question: Who's gonna close until Feliz returns May 6?

Side-winding right-hander Cody Eppley replaced Feliz on the roster, but the Rangers' saves on Saturday and Sunday went to 40-something lefties Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes.

But if you think things were dicey without Josh Hamilton, wait until we get a couple weeks of life without Feliz.

You did see Brett Tomko in yesterday's 9th, didn't you?


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