Before today’s series finale against the Mariners it was reported by MLB.com that Manager Ron Washington has decided to remove Frank Francisco from his role as the closer. So far in five games the Rangers have lost three times, with two of those loses coming on blown saves from Francisco.
In just five games into the season, Francisco has appeared in three of them and sports a 1-2 record. Two of his appearances were considered save opportunities. Overall in 2 innings pitched he has given up 8 hits, 2 walks and six earned runs sporting an 27.00 era.
This is definitely not what Manager Ron Washington up to the Rangers front office expected to see from their closer this early in the season, so they decided to make a move. The eighth inning setup guy for Francisco thus far has been Neftali Feliz.
In 2.1 innings this season Feliz has only given up 2 hits with one earned run. He has pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning each of Francisco’s blown saves thus far. Feliz is going to temporarily slip into the closers role according to Washington and Francisco will become a middle reliever until he can get his stuff under control.
The eighth inning setup guy will become new addition this year Darren Oliver. In 3 appearances this season he has pitched 1.2 innings only giving up a home run to streaking Vernon Wells this past Wednesday when the Blue Jays beat the Rangers 7-4.
Last season Francisco converted 25 of 29 saves to have a win loss record of 2-3, and he even spent some time on the disabled list. Other than injuries he was fairly effective last season and need to get his stuff straightened out this season so he be even more effective in 2010.
The Rangers setup of Oliver pitching the eighth and Feliz closing out the games looks good statistically on paper considering their records so far this season. Oliver is a proven veteran and can probably pitch anywhere, although this could be an adventure for Feliz considering his limited big league experience. The Rangers had to make a change though if they still expect to win 92 games.