Nod to Booyakasha at Lone Star Ball for this awesome gif:
Despite last night’s anemic offense, things were looking good for the Texas Rangers going into the 9th with a 2-0 lead against the Oakland A’s:
* Starter Dustin Nippert, filling in for staff ace Kevin Millwood who is out with a very literal pain-in-the-a$s, pitched another sterling 5 innings of one-hit ball. Check.
* Much heralded Rangers pitching prospect Neftali Feliz, the final piece of the blockbuster Mark Teixera trade, entered the game in the 6th, struck out the first four batters he faced with a devastating 100+ mph fastball, and retired all six batters he faced. Ranger fans finally got a look at what the front office has been slobbering over all season…and rightfully so. Awesome debut for Feliz. Check.
* Frank Francisco needed some work as he makes his way back to the closer role, so in he comes into the 8th, though I’d have loved to see more of Neftali Feliz. Franky pitches pretty good, but his pitch count was up, so bring in Eddie G against a left-hand batter. Fair enough, we need to ease Franky back in. Check.
* Righties coming up, bring in Darren O’Day, who has been pitching lights-out ball lately. O’Day gets us out of the eighth. Check.
Bring O’Day back for the ninth, he gets his man. He’s pitching lights-out ball again, so let him close out the game, Check? NO. Instead, Ron Washington decides to keep playing it by the book and opts to bring in CJ Wilson for the lefty-lefty, by-the-book move with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 9th.
Nothing against CJ, he’s been as good a closer as you can find of late, but I was SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS when Wash yanked O’Day just for the lefty-lefty move!! And guess what happened? The A’s pinch-hit two right-handed batters to face CJ, and ultimately, walk off with a 3-2 win over the Rangers.
Wash, sometimes you gotta set down the book, leave your “lights-out” guy in the game, and go with the flow. With the Angels destroying every team in their path, ya just gotta sweep cellar-dwelling teams like the A’s and WIN these tight games.
Oakland 3 Texas 2 – games like these are why the Rangers will not make the post season this year.