ARLINGTON -- If the Rangers need a closer on Sunday, manager Ron Washington made it clear that it will still be Neftali Feliz.Washington is standing by his rookie closer even though he has had some shaky moments in his first two appearances in the playoffs. Feliz has faced nine batters and allowed five to reach base on three walks and two hits, including a home run in Game 3 by Carl Crawford. "His head is fine," Washington said. "You've got to experience this stuff. We talk about a great ballplayer in Alex Rodriguez. It took him three years in New York before he started doing it in his fourth year. Feliz is our guy, he has got to go through it. It's not going to be all of a sudden he's not our closer because he has been erratic. It's your job, you've got to do it. If you don't, we've got to live with it. "I see a kid who is pumped up and trying to get the job done. The adrenaline may be pumping a little harder but I don't see any nervousness."
Rangers add Wilson to bullpen for Game 4
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers began the American League Division Series with six relievers in the bullpen. They are adding a seventh reliever for Game 4 on Sunday at the Ballpark in Arlington.C.J. Wilson. Manager Ron Washington said Wilson, who was the starter and winner in Game 2, is available as a reliever for Game 4. That gives the Rangers three left-handers in the bullpen on a day when right-hander Tommy Hunter is pitching against a Rays lineup that will be stacked with six left-handed hitters. Wilson pitched 6 1/3 innings in a 6-0 victory over the Rays on Thursday, throwing 104 pitches. He was a reliever for four years before moving into the rotation this season. "If we have to use him for anything, we will use him," Washington said.
Rangers stick with Murphy, Molina as starters
ARLINGTON -- David Murphy was back in left field and Bengie Molina was behind the plate for Game 4 for the Rangers with Rays right-hander Wade Davis on the mound.Murphy, who had been dealing with a strained left groin muscle, was 1-for-3 in Game 3, the first time he has played since Sept. 29. With the Rangers leading, 2-1, Murphy was replaced on defense late in the game by Julio Borbon. "Murphy is good," Washington said. "He came out of that game feeling good with no problems. I just wanted to make sure I had young legs out there late." As far as Murphy for Sunday, Washington said, "I just think I want to get as much offense in there as I possibly can." Molina is starting for the third time in four games. Matt Treanor started in Game 2 and Molina caught Game 3. "Molina got a good look at them yesterday," Washington said. "My gut tells me Molina is the guy. He got a good look at them and he's a big-time catcher."
Washington doesn't regret bullpen moves
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington stood by the decisions he made in regards to his bullpen in Game 3. The most discussed move was taking out Darren O'Day in the eighth inning and going with closer Neftali Feliz.The score was tied at 2 in the eighth inning. With one out and a runner at first, O'Day struck out B.J. Upton in a righty-vs.-righty matchup. Washington then brought in Feliz to face Jason Bartlett, another right-handed hitter who was hitting ninth but is also 3-for-5 in his career off O'Day. Feliz walked Bartlett and then gave up an RBI single to John Jaso, a left-handed hitter, that brought home the go-ahead run. "My thinking was Bartlett has trouble hitting velocity and he hits O'Day good," Washington said. "I was going bring Feliz in anyway on Jaso, so I brought him in a batter early to put velocity on Jaso. If Feliz doesn't walk Bartlett, everything is fine. "It didn't work, so it opens me up. If that's the case, then that's the case. Bring it on." The Rangers used seven pitchers in Game 3. They are only the fifth team to use at least seven pitchers in a playoff game that involved the designated hitter. Only one team has ever used eight pitchers. The Rangers did so in 1996 in Game 4 against the Yankees.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.