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April 12, 2010

Wrapping up a 4-2 Rangers victory

Nelson Cruz, not the AL Player of the Week for last week, got his campaign for this week started quickly with a two-run homer off Jamey Wright in the 10th inning to lift the Rangers to a 4-2 victory at Progressive Field. Cruz has five homers, 11 RBIs and a 1.250 slugging percentage -- numbers that lead the AL at this moment -- and he's hitting a third-best .458.

Frank Francisco was the winning pitcher after tossing a scoreless ninth inning. That wasn't exactly the kind of non-pressure situation the Rangers were hoping to work him into as he regains his form and becomes the closer again, but manager Ron Washignton they went with him there because they wanted others in case of extra innings.

Neftali Feliz came in for his first save as temporary closer, retiring the side in order and hitting 102 mph on a fastball to Michael Brantley. Francisco is a veteran and did a fine job last year as the closer, but Feliz could be a heck of a closer.

The Rangers were 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position, a troubling stat. They should have won the game in the ninth, when they loaded the bases with no outs but failed to score. In their three losses this year, they are 0 for 24 with runners in scoring position.

Rich Harden was better at limiting his pitch count and going deeper in the game than in his Rangers debut. He lasted six innings, thowing 104 pitches, as opposed to 3 2/3 innings and 90 pitches Wednesday against Toronto. But Harden said he his stuff wasn't as good. He had only two strikeouts, down six from last week, but some of that is due to the patience Cleveland hitters showed.

-- Jeff Wilson


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Even though it all worked out fine, Washington's reasoning for bringing Frankie in for the 9th is terrible.

First, you have to bring in the guy you're most confident in to even send the game into extra innings. It doesn't have to be your closer, but it should be somebody you trust pretty well. Bringing in Frankie was taking an awful chance.

Also, if you're "planning" for extra innings than go ahead and bring in somebody who is likely to work more than 1 inning - not Frankie.

Finally, if those first 2 hard hit balls go for hits and Frankie loses that game, what's his confidence like then?

Overall, an awful decision with a fortunate outcome.

You're right Tommy and 2-14 with runners in scoring position is a huge problem as was the bases loaded, nobody out and no run produced.

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