Three different times on that epic night in St. Louis, on three different pitches in a ninth and 10th inning fraught with history, the Texas Rangers were within one strike of a world championship. And after blowing Game 6, and ultimately the 2012 World Series, in excruciating fashion, the Rangers decided they want Joe Nathan throwing those pitches from now on. Now that's pressure. "Nah, I don't think Joe is nervous about anything," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When you start to feel [pressure], it's because you don't expect yourself to do something. But Joe doesn't have to feel pressure for anything." He swears he doesn't, either, that it's all just baseball, it's all something he's done a million times before. But rarely has such a good team had so much riding on such a curious transaction as the two-year, $14.75 million contract that brought the Twins' all-time saves leader to Texas in November. The Rangers had an effective young closer, one of the best in the game (despite his Game 6 meltdown) in Neftali Feliz, whose 100-miles-per-hour fastball has racked up 72 saves in barely more than two seasons. They elected to move the 23-year-old into their starting rotation, and signed, at a premium price, a veteran closer coming off elbow surgery two years ago, the least effective season (4.84 ERA and only 14 saves) of his relief career in 2011, and on his 37th birthday in November. On paper, it's a gamble that Caesar's Palace wouldn't book. But in Nathan's trusty-once-more right arm? Different story, he says.
Rangers go all in relying on Nathan
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Mar 7