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MLB Playoffs ALDS Rays-Rangers: Bullpen

Rafael Soriano was brought in by the Rays to stabilize a bullpen that went with a closer by committee in 2009. Well, the move paid off as Soriano set a team record with 45 saves and pitched to a 1.73 ERA to spearhead a bullpen that ranked first in the American League with a 3.33 ERA.

Right-handers Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour and Dan Wheeler help set the bridge to Soriano, while Randy Choate is used as the left-handed specialist.

Benoit, a longtime Ranger who came off shoulder surgery and signed a minor- league contract this year with the Rays, is Soriano's main setup man and pitched to an AL-best 1.34 ERA.

As good as Soriano was for the Rays, rookie right-hander Neftali Feliz proved to be just as effective for the Rangers, as he saved 40 games and pitched to a 2.73 ERA.

Setting up Feliz, who should be the American League's Rookie of the Year, are righties Darren O'Day and Alexi Ogando, as well as left-handers Darren Oliver and Matt Harrison.

Right-hander Rich Harden and lefty Derek Holland will also be used in some situations.

Texas, whose bullpen ERA of 3.38 was the second-best in the AL, was 71-12 when leading after six innings this season.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.