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Tigers win in a walkoff — Neftali Feliz remains well-rested

Apr 13, 2011, 4:44 PM EDT

Neftali Feliz

For the second straight day the Tigers have beat the Rangers in walkoff fashion. For the second straight day they did so while the Rangers’ relief ace — Neftali Feliz — watched from the comfort of his bench in the bullpen.

Today the heroics came via a Brandon Inge home run with one out in the ninth off Darren Oliver, who was into his second inning of work in a tie game.  Yesterday it was Miguel Cabrera doing the honors off Darren O’Day on a bases loaded single.

Ron Washington recently said that he would not limit Neftali Feliz to save situations and that, instead, he’d deploy him more often, Except, as Aaron pointed out, Washington meant that he’d actually use him in lower-leverage situations, such as in games with four-run leads, which isn’t all that useful. Well, today and yesterday were both high-leverage situations: tie games, in the ninth, one of which was a bases-loaded situation.  Why Ron Washington doesn’t want his most dominant pitcher on the mound in those situations is between him and his god.

But hey, at least Feliz is well-rested to pick up that save tomorrow!  Oh, wait. It’s an offday.  Never mind.

  1. dianagram - Apr 13, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    If the Rangers miss the playoffs by a game ….

    • Mike Luna - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:11 PM

      …then we can blame Mark Lowe, who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of getting outs or holding a lead.

  2. angrycorgi - Apr 13, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    I agree. I was expecting Neftali to walk out there in the 9th with thursday off. Ron fooled me again.

  3. Jeremiah Graves - Apr 13, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Maybe Washington just needs to use fewer relievers named Darren in high-leverage situations, specifically against the Tigers.

  4. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    He didn’t know how to use him in the playoffs last year either. Ain’t shit changed but the day of the week.

    • texasdawg - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:10 PM

      And yet the Rangers made the World Series despite Washington. Go figure.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:19 PM

        And lost to better pitching and better managing. Bochy ruled the playoffs with his tactics. That can’t be understated.

      • tomemos - Apr 13, 2011 at 7:09 PM

        Yes: they made the World Series despite Washington. We’re in agreement.

      • gt929 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:26 PM

        Washington failed to tell his starting pitchers to mow down the opposing batters. Bochy, by remembering this little detail, ‘outmanaged’ Wash. Dang that Wash, he cost the Rangers the WS.

  5. texasdawg - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    2010 xFIP

    Oliver: 2.75
    Feliz: 3.50

    But whatever… Now back to “silly old Ron Washington…”

    • Kevin S. - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:16 PM

      Great moments in selective statistical arguments!

      Oliver had a higher tERA, was heavily platooned, and had never in his career posted an xFIP lower than 3.86. Ron Washington brought in his LOOGY against a righty.

      • texasdawg - Apr 13, 2011 at 8:39 PM

        ERA… yeah, no thanks.

        Oliver isn’t a LOOGY. He pitched the 7th and 8th throughout 2010. He also wasn’t “brought in” to face a righty. He had pitched an easy 8th and the first out of the 9th.

        Apparently you didn’t watch the game and clearly don’t even know much about the Rangers (calling Oliver a LOOGY; no acknowledgement that Mike Maddux has just as much if not more input on these calls), but you still concluded Ron Washington is some simple idiot. Go figure.

      • cur68 - Apr 13, 2011 at 9:00 PM

        texas, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I don’t know what these guys all expect of Washington but I do know what I expect. He needs to get his boys to win enough games to make the playoffs. Then the division. Then the American League. Then the Series. He fell just short last season and for that he gets caned over trivial differences. I get sick of seeing calls for him to be replaced or that he’s some sort of fool. If any of these guys are Giants fans then they got some cause to hold their manager or other methods higher than RW. If they aren’t then they might think about wishing their guys were on board with whatever it is RW is doing. All he does is win. Has done since he got to the Rangers. They all know so much more than RW why don’t they try and get his job or manage their home teams and beat RW’s team, then? I long for the day the Blue Jays take him off the Rangers because he’s such a ‘loser’. Guy that unsuccessful as a manger would be real welcome.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 13, 2011 at 9:29 PM

        Maybe I should re-phrase – Darren Oliver has the skill set of a LOOGY. In 2010, against lefties he posted a 13.05 K/9, .91 BB/9, 1.56 FIP, 1.63 xFIP, 14.8% LD rate. Righties, it was 6.19, 3.38, 3.64, 3.78, 24.2%. For his career, he’s also demonstrated a fairly significant platoon split. The guy has no business facing right handed batters in a pressure situation when the superior Feliz is available.

        And tERA isn’t ERA… more reading comprehension next time.

      • Mark - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:46 PM

        “He needs to get his boys to win enough games to make the playoffs. ”

        It’s hard to win when you don’t put your best guys on the field. Putting Feliz up in the ninth against Inge is a better option then Oliver.

        ” He fell just short last season and for that he gets caned over trivial differences.”

        I wouldn’t call avoiding using his best reliever in one of the most critical points in the game, for multiple days in a row a “trivial difference”. A trivial difference is batting Andrus first or second. A significant difference is using anybody over Feliz in a tie or close game during or after the ninth inning.

        “I get sick of seeing calls for him to be replaced or that he’s some sort of fool.”

        Well, when he makes stupid decisions like this it’s pretty easy to see why people don’t think very highly of him.

        ” long for the day the Blue Jays take him off the Rangers because he’s such a ‘loser’. Guy that unsuccessful as a manger would be real welcome.”

        Yeah, no. I’m much happier with Farrell who’s actually smart enough to use platoons to his advantage, and who realizes that the save is irrelevant. I loved what he did the other day, leaving in Rzep in the 9th to face Matsui before going to Rauch to get the final 2 outs against RHB. That’s how you manage a bullpen, and that’s how you win games. Not by arbitrarily using your closer in the ninth simply because you have a 1-3 run lead.

        And the reason Texas wins so many games is because they have more talent then most teams. Anybody with enough common sense to use Feliz in one of the key spots would have had the Rangers a win or two better then Washington currently has them.

        Why you keep defending this guy is beyond me.

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 12:09 AM

        So you’d pass on Washington’s 9 & 3 record for Farrell’s 6 & 6, eh? Talk about logic…

        How long has Farrell’s been a manger? He’s been doing the job long as a sneeze. What about Washington? Since 2007. Improving every year to the Series last year. What’s Farrrell done this year? 50/50. Washington? 9 of 12.

        You clearly know more than he does about managing a ball club. Why don’t you mange the Jays then? See if you out perform your guy, Farrell. As far as I can see he can’t even get the team I root for past the lowly Mariners 2 out of 3 times.

        “Why you keep defending this guy is beyond me.”

        Yeah I get that. It is beyond you. You seem to have something against a winner.
        That’s why I defend him. He wins. You can’t argue with winning and who gives a crap where Elvis Ever Lovin Andrus bats? It was damn well good enough to get the series last year, wasn’t it? They lost, but I’d trade that season for the one the Jays had in a nano second. I guess you wouldn’t, though, right? You don’t like Ron Washington and winning ballgames for some reason or the other.

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 12:13 AM

        Oh yeah, I forgot this little gem of yours;

        “It’s hard to win when you don’t put your best guys on the field.”

        Explain how they’re winning then. FYI; 9 & 3 is a winning club. They barely lost those 2 games against Detroit; sheer craptastic luck, which is going to happen in a long season.

      • Mark - Apr 14, 2011 at 12:24 PM

        “How long has Farrell’s been a manger? He’s been doing the job long as a sneeze. What about Washington? Since 2007. Improving every year to the Series last year. What’s Farrrell done this year? 50/50. Washington? 9 of 12.”

        Texas has improved every year because Daniels gives him better players to work with. Having Colby Lewis in 2010/2011 vs the crap they threw out there in 2007 makes a pretty big difference. As does having Hamilton, Cruz etc.

        Farrell’s got less talent to work with then Washington does, so just arbitrarily pointing to the records is meaningless.

        “You clearly know more than he does about managing a ball club. Why don’t you mange the Jays then? See if you out perform your guy, Farrell. As far as I can see he can’t even get the team I root for past the lowly Mariners 2 out of 3 times.”

        I don’t manage the Jays because I’m quite happy with my job, thank you very much. But if the offer ever came around I wouldn’t turn it down.

        I don’t think it’s Farrell’s fault that 3 relievers, including our pretty reliable set up guy couldn’t hold a 6 run lead with 2 innings to go. Either way, he’s done a good job on the whole and the complaints that I have are minor in comparison to what Daniels does.

        “Yeah I get that. It is beyond you. You seem to have something against a winner.”

        No, I have a thing against a guy who is holding the Rangers back. They could (and should) be better than 9-3. We can credit at least one of those losses to Washington’s inability to properly manage his bullpen.

        “That’s why I defend him. He wins. You can’t argue with winning and who gives a crap where Elvis Ever Lovin Andrus bats? It was damn well good enough to get the series last year, wasn’t it?”

        Which cost them during the regular season. Andrus led off and had a 643 OPS. You think giving the most PA to your worst hitter is a good decision?

        ” They lost, but I’d trade that season for the one the Jays had in a nano second. I guess you wouldn’t, though, right? You don’t like Ron Washington and winning ballgames for some reason or the other.”

        I’d trade the Jays season last year for a trip to the WS in a heart beat, but Washington was not the reason they won. You need to separate what the players did, from the managers decisions.

  6. trevorb06 - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Could have been worse. Gardy had Dusty Hughes pitching today when the Twins were down by two instead of putting in a better reliever. That turned a close game the Twins were still in into a blow out. Thanks Gardy. :-) Good job buddy!

  7. bbobbo177 - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    I would have gambled and put him in vs Cabrera with bases loaded, but Cabrera vs Feliz, 3 ab, 1 hr, 1 walk. He is also one of the most clutch hitters there are, not sure it would have mattered. He should have started the inning vs the top of order.

    Who would have thought that Inge would hit a walkoff homerun though? I woulda waited until next inning for Feliz to face top of order, so I wouldn’t blame him for that loss.

  8. madhatternalice - Apr 13, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Don’t forget that Valverde came in for the top of the 9th in both games, keeping it tied.

    Detroit = smart bullpen use
    Texas = not so much

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 13, 2011 at 6:02 PM

      give that man a prize!!

    • clydeserra - Apr 13, 2011 at 6:40 PM

      But it should be noted that that is standard practice to bring in your closer in the 9th in a tie game at home.

  9. O.Handwasher - Apr 13, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Somebody needs to get on the beat writers out there and tell them to start pounding Washington on this crap. And I’m not even from Texas. This just offends me as a fan.

    • texasdawg - Apr 13, 2011 at 8:45 PM

      On what crap?

      I’d love for Feliz to be a starter and believe he’s wasted in the bullpen however he’s used, but that’s a decision that was made by a lot more people than Washington.

      Not bringing him in today?

      Meh.

      Adam Morris at LoneStarBall.com:

      For what it is worth, I don’t have a problem with Feliz not pitching in the 9th inning. You had the bottom of the Tiger lineup due up, you had one of your better relievers on the mound and pitching well, and you had burned through much the rest of the pen before the 9th inning.

      If you lift Oliver for Feliz so that Neftali can pitch the 9th, then you are left with just two pitchers behind Feliz: Darren O’Day, who struggled this spring and in his last two outings, including the day before when he picked up the loss in the 9th inning against Detroit, and Pedro Strop, who also pitched the day before. Neither is likely to give you more than one inning.

      If you go to Feliz in the 9th, you are likely committing to him pitching two innings. You are hoping he has a quick bottom of the 9th, because if he gets to 20 or more pitches, it is going to be pushing it to have him go back out for the bottom of the 10th. And if Texas doesn’t score in the top of the 10th, you’re in a situation where you are going to run out of pitchers very soon.

      Leaving Neftali Feliz in the bullpen while Darren O’Day faced Miguel Cabrera yesterday with the bases loaded and two outs in the 9th inning of a tie game was a huge mistake. Leaving Feliz in the bullpen today, though, given all the circumstances, I have a hard time disagreeing with.

  10. texasdawg - Apr 13, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    “And lost to better pitching and better managing.”

    Please list all the ways Bochy outmanaged Washington in the 2010 World Series.

    • cur68 - Apr 13, 2011 at 9:14 PM

      Texas; Not sure if you want to get further down this road. Logic plays no part of this. Apparently ‘winning’ isn’t enough for some people. One of these guys posting thinks that a manger is pretty useless. Oughta get out of the way and let the players play. Far as I can tell that’s what he did today. Let a guy with a 2.6ish ERA over 130+ games play. They lost. Still RW’s fault. Poor man’s wrong no matter WHAT with this logic. You do know that RW’s team has improved steadily since he got there in 2007, right? Apparently he had nothing to do with that. You’d think the teams these fellas root for are better managed or something, but, as I said, this is not about any logic that I can see.

      Its early in the season and any one posting here wishes their teams had the win/loss your lads have. Feliz has lots of baseball to play this season.

      • gt929 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:31 PM

        Following your ‘winning’ argument, Washington outmanaged 28 other managers last year. And, he’s 9 out of 12 this year.

      • cur68 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:33 PM

        Deep sigh. There you go with that logic again…

      • gt929 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:34 PM

        Ooops, sorry, I think we’re on the same side here.

      • cur68 - Apr 14, 2011 at 12:15 AM

        Ayup, we are, but hang in there, my fellow Jay’s fan Mark is on board this post. He’s got some logic you can sink your teeth into a bit.

    • tomemos - Apr 14, 2011 at 10:36 AM

      Start with how he used the bullpen in Game 2, that’ll give you plenty to chew on.

      • tomemos - Apr 14, 2011 at 10:37 AM

        (“He” being Washington, of course.)

  11. Senor Cardgage - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    I disagree with all the criticism of how Washington has used Feliz in the last two games.

    First let’s talk about Valverde. It makes perfect sense for him to pitch in the ninth. In a tie game, there will be no save situation for the home team, so you put your best arm out there. This is standard operating procedure in the Majors, and indeed Feliz was used in those situations last year.

    For the visitors, however, it’s really not a good idea for the closer to come in in the ninth in a tie game. (Someone, after all, still has to save the win if your team gets a lead.) The earliest I would consider bringing in the closer in that situation is the tenth and hope he could give me two innings (with the best case being that my team scored in the top of the eleventh).

    Consider Tuesday’s game: If Washington had used Feliz in the ninth, then Feliz would have pitched on three straight days, likely making him unavailable to pitch today. Add to it the fact that Feliz could have pitched a perfect inning or two and the Rangers still would not have been guaranteed a win (because the Rangers still needed to score), and it becomes a very easy decision not to use him without the lead.

    Today, Darren Oliver had cruised through the eighth and had retired the first batter in the ninth before Inge’s hit. (I doubt anyone really expected the no. 9 hitter to hit a walk-off home run.) If Oliver could have made it through the ninth, I would have brought Feliz in to pitch the tenth (where he would have faced Cabrera) and hoped for the best from there.

    All in all, the late-inning pitching moves are the same ones I would have made, and the same ones I suspect most managers would have made.

    • cur68 - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:15 PM

      And of course those managers are better than RW because they can’t take their teams to the Series. Or something. All sarcasm aside, I see the logic of what you are saying and I agree. Washington was planning for the next inning because you HAVE to expect that with Oliver’s record he gets Inge out and he hadn’t really thrown that much. IMO? Inge was so lucky it was amazing he could run the bases with all those horseshoes up his a$$.

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