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Darren O'Day's recent workload and last night's short stint

A common question/complaint from last night's game day threads, last night's post-game thread, and now this morning's post is, "Why didn't Ron Washington leave Darren O'Day out for the 7th last night, instead of lifting him after two batters?"

There are two elements to this response.  The first has to do with O'Day's usage pattern with the Rangers since he got here.  Darren O'Day has pitched 2 innings in a game exactly once as a Ranger.  He has average less than an inning per outing.  Whether it is because that's how the Rangers choose to use him, or because the organization has determined that he isn't generally effective in longer stints, the reality is that he's a short-usage reliever.

Secondly, though, and more importantly...let's look at how O'Day has been used of late.

O'Day pitched in all three games in Boston, April 20-22, and then didn't pitch again for a week.  Why?  He was dealing with back problems that, if you recall, had us talking about the possibility of him going on the disabled list.

O'Day then pitched on three straight days -- April 29, April 30, and May 1.  He then had a day off, pitched on May 3, had a day off, and pitched on May 5.

O'Day's outing last night was his 6th appearance in 8 days.  I am guessing that Ron Washington wanted to avoid using O'Day at all last night, and only did so because he needed someone to bail Dustin Nippert out in the 6th.

So, to recap...

O'Day, who averages less than an inning per appearance, had an injury that made him unavailable for about a week.  Once he was available, he was used in 5 games over a 7 game stretch.

On day 8, despite his recent health issues and his heavy recent workload, Washington turns to him to get a couple of key outs in the 6th inning.

Sensibly, given the circumstances, Washington goes to another pitcher for the 7th inning.

And yet, folks are complaining that O'Day should have been left in to go 1 2/3 innings last night, when just sending him out there for the 6th inning was probably excessive?

The problem when you only have a few guys who you can rely on is that you end up burning them up early in the year.  The Rangers are already running that risk with O'Day and Darren Oliver right now, and asking O'Day to pitch the 6th and 7th innings, given his recent workload and health issues, would have been a bad decision.