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T.R. Sullivan Inbox column

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Pitcher Alexi Ogando is a bad mama jama.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Pitcher Alexi Ogando is a bad mama jama. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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T.R. Sullivan has a new Inbox column up, dealing with Alexi Ogando's future in the rotation, Eric Hurley's status, and how some minor leaguers are shaking out...

There's one answer he gave, though, to the question about Neftali Feliz pitching multiple innings like Rollie Fingers used to, that I found a bit frustrating:

Feliz pitched 69 1/3 innings last year while saving 40 games. From 1972-76, the Athletics used Fingers strictly as a reliever and he averaged 123 innings a season. He also averaged 21 saves. One big difference: the Rangers had seven complete games last year. The A's staff averaged 42 complete games in 1972-76. They could use Fingers for multiple innings because they didn't need him as much as the Rangers need Feliz.

If the A's didn't need Fingers as much as the Rangers need Feliz, then why did Fingers average 70 games per season from 1972-76 -- the exact same number of games Feliz appeared in for the Rangers last year?

And why did Fingers pitch MORE innings than Feliz, if the Rangers needed Feliz more?

The reality is that this is more about the role of closers in the modern game, the mindset of modern managers and pitching coaches, and a desire to keep relievers from being overworked than it is because the Rangers needed Feliz more than the A's needed Fingers.