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10/04/2011

Tuesday drive through: Why Texas Rangers fan all get nervous at the sight of Darren Oliver

Jenna_Fischer_389565693Jenna Fischer has a baby boy. His name is not Jim from The Office.

Hollywood is all about the appearance of being very pro open, so how does it feel about being wooed by China's billions of dollars?

And to the greatness that is your Texas Rangers ...

The Rangers are a very impressive 3-0 at The Trop in the playoffs. This is not going to be a space reserved to bag on anything Rangers at the moment, but rather an open plea to Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington to keep Darren Oliver in the bullpen unless the game is a blow out. The lead is double digits.

I say this as a man who likes Darren Oliver because he's a good guy. 

94e2865519d5a1471aa3d48396574067-getty-127942493 Oliver is coming off what is arguably the best year he's ever had in his 18 years in the major leagues. Darren Oliver has been in the majors for 18 years. That is a testament to the power of being left handed, and doing your job well enough.

In 51 innings this season he allowed 47 hits, walked only 11 with a 2.29 ERA.  Yet when he trotted out of the bullpen in Game 3 with the Rangers leading 4-1 to start the bottom of the seventh inning my reaction was, "Ohhhhhhhh, noooooooooooooooooooo."

Oliver got the first out before Johnny Damon reached on an infield single followed with hits from Brent Zobrist and Casey Kotchman. In no time the Rays had put the tying run on first base with one out.
At that point, Oliver was done for Alexi Ogando, who limited the damage to just one run.
Oliver's line: 1/3 ip., 3 hits, 1 run on 12 pitches. His postseason ERA is now 6.75. 

As much as we all love to have fun bashing former Rangers GM John Hart for his many his decisions, and there were so many, one of the areas where I agreed with his philosophy was the bullpen. He wanted nothing but guys who blew heat. In the postseason, the best relievers are always the guys who throw hard. The guys who flirt with the corners with junk are usually pounded.

This is where Oliver fails the eye-ball test. His hard-throwing days, if he ever had any, are long behind him. His numbers from the regular season are not going to translate to the postseason.

The Rangers lead this series 2-1 and can close it out today. When Ron Washington comes to get starter Matt Harrison today, most if not all of Ranger nation will be hoping he takes a pass on Oliver.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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