The average American League bullpen is allowing 4.31 runs per 9 innings in 2011.
The Texas Ranger bullpen is allowing 4.33 runs per 9 innings.
The average American League bullpen is allowing 30% of inherited runners to score in 2011.
The Texas Ranger bullpen has allowed 16% of inherited runners to score -- the lowest rate in baseball. Only 4 runners Ranger relievers have inherited have scored, by far the lowest in the league.*
* Of course, Texas relievers have inherited only 25 baserunners, the lowest in the A.L. This reflects the Wash/Maddux preference of having relievers start innings and pitch a full inning, rather than mix-and-match within an inning.
The raw numbers for the bullpen aren't bad. The Ranger bullpen, all in all, has not, performance-wise, been a weakness this year.
But it feels like a weakness. It feels like a gaping wound to the gut, with your intestines hanging out.
I hated the Ian Kinsler bunt in the 8th inning last night. Part of the reason I hated it was that I hated taking the bat out of the hands of one of your best hitters late in a tie game. But part of the reason I hated it was that, if you are going to play for just one run, you have to be confident that that one run will hold up, and I didn't have that level of confidence in the bullpen.
Neftali Feliz will be back on Friday, and that will help. Tommy Hunter will be returning from the disabled list soon, and his return could push Alexi Ogando to the bullpen, which would help solidify the relief corps. If Mark Lowe figures things out in AAA, he could come up and help. Tanner Scheppers, and possibly even Neil Ramirez, could be options later this summer.
But what the bullpen really needs is for Pedro Strop to harness his stuff and become a reliable 7th/8th inning option. It needs Cody Eppley to be Darren O'Day. It needs Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver to pitch like they've got something left in the tank.
It needs the guys in place who have the ability to perform to perform to their ability level.
In Jeff Wilson's game story, Ron Washington says that he is still confident in his bullpen.
Evan Grant has his post-game thoughts, which includes a mention of Alexi Ogando having blister issues again. One of the things that could result in Ogando heading back to the pen is a recurrence of blister problems, which he's been experiencing late in his starting stints.
T.R. Sullivan's game story describes Ogando's finger as "caked with blood" after he was pulled because of the blister issue.
Richard Durrett has his post-game reactions.
Gil Lebreton says that the Rangers are going to have to win with the guys they have in place.