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Rangers closer Frank Francisco is on thin ice

Apr 11, 2010, 10:24 AM EDT

Last night Frank Francisco blew his second save of the season and afterward manager Ron Washington would say only “stay tuned” when asked if he’d be sticking with the Rangers’ closer.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News only five pitchers in the previous five seasons blew at least two saves in the opening week, and of those five only Mariano Rivera kept the job all season.
Of course, setting aside the opening week factor plenty of closer blow two saves in a week. In fact, last year Francisco himself blew a save on June 25 and then another on July 1. And he bounced back to convert 13-of-15 save chances with 31 strikeouts and a .230 opponents’ batting average in 25.2 innings from that point forward.
However, as Grant notes Francisco’s velocity has slipped since he returned from arm problems last June and his control has been shakier than usual as well. Since returning from the disabled list last season he has a 7.39 ERA and has blown six saves in 19 chances.
Neftali Feliz certainly has a future as a closer if the Rangers decide he doesn’t have a future as a top-of-the-rotation starter, but he’s also a 21-year-old rookie with four professional saves and has yet to pitch on back-to-back days. A closer-by-committee situation headed by Feliz and Darren O’Day is also an option, but for now we’ll simply have to follow Washington’s advice and “stay tuned.”

  1. Joey B - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Amazing. I traded Frankie for Swisher, not trusting or needing Frankie at the time, picked up Feliz for a day to get a couple of K’s. Frankie just cratered someone else’s ERA, Feliz picked up 3 Ks in IP, and now this? Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

  2. Old Gator - Apr 11, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    I suspect that if the Rangers were willing to trade Francisco and a large lump of cash to the Feesh and pick up all of his salary except the major league minimum, the Feesh would probably hand them Renyel Pinto on a pewter platter (well, this is Scrooge McLoria we’re talking about).

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