After Friday's monumental, six-run implosion in a gut-wrenching loss to the Boston Red Sox, I heard lots of calls for Frankie Francisco's job - if not his head.
But give Texas Rangers' manager Ron Washington credit. The guy is an unflappable optimist. At times to a fault, he trusts his players.
"Frankie's never been quite right since an early-season visit to the DL." "He can't pitch back-to-back days." "He'll mentally never recover from Friday."
Washington heard the calls, too. And how'd he respond?
He handed the ball - and the closer's job - back to Francisco on Sunday and Monday. And, boy, was he ever rewarded.
AL WILD-CARD STANDINGS
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|Boston Red Sox||66||51||1.0||45|
|Tampa Bay Rays||63||54||4.0||45|
|Chicago White Sox||61||58||7.0||43|
Francisco saved Sunday's one-run win over Boston and pitched a perfect 9th last night in an 8-5 win over the Twins, striking out four of the six batters he faced.
Neftali Feliz is more dynamic and C.J. Wilson more entertaining, but Frankie is the most effective - the most trusted - of Texas' late-inning relievers.
Until further notice I think Francisco should be the Rangers' closer. You?