Monday, October 24, 2011

Erratic bullpens will help determine what is now best-of-three Series


ARLINGTON, Texas -- At the conclusion of the first inning on Sunday night, in which Rangers starter Derek Holland retired the Cardinals' side in order, including a strikeout of scorching hot Allen Craig and a groundout from history-making Albert Pujols, Texas reliever Mike Adams turned toward bullpen-mate Scott Feldman and offered a prediction.

"We might get 'Complete Game Derek' tonight," Adams said.

"We might get 'Shutout Derek,'" Feldman replied.

Neither was exactly right -- Holland threw 8 1/3 shutout innings before closer Neftali Feliz got the final two outs as the Rangers won 4-0 to even the World Series at two games apiece -- but the prevailing sentiment rang home.

Perhaps no group benefited more from Holland's brilliant outing than the Rangers' relief corps. It was the first time this postseason that a Texas starter had even completed seven innings, much less more than eight, and meant that the mostly-excellent but heavily-taxed bullpen would -- aside from Feliz, who threw 17 pitches and was coming off two days of rest -- be given a much-needed extra day off.

"Tonight we got a great start," Adams said. "It helped the bullpen tremendously. I think we'll be a little bit reloaded tomorrow and ready to go."

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