If the Texas Rangers don’t face righty Jordan Walden in this series, it likely means the Rangers continued their winning ways at home. Walden, a graduate of Mansfield High School, is the closer for the Los Angeles Angels. He did not begin the season in that role, but he was destined for the back end of the 'pen.
“We needed to adjust some things at the back end of our bullpen as we got through our first series,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on Rangers Baseball Tonight before Monday’s series opener. “Some guys were struggling with some things, particularly a command issue. Jordan has that special arm, much like [Neftali] Feliz for Texas. For him to go to the back end of the bullpen was a natural. We thought he would eventually get there. Maybe not the first week of the season, but we thought he would eventually get there.”
Entering Monday's game, Walden was tied for the American League lead with nine appearances. He had three saves and 10 strikeouts in 8.1 innings pitched. He had not yet allowed a run.
“I think with Fernando Rodney throwing the ball well now and Jordan Walden, it gives us a dimension at the back end of the game that we know is very important to us," Scioscia said. "Some power arms are going to get those last five, six outs if we need them.”
The Angels drafted Walden in the 12th round of the 2006 June draft. In his brief major league career against the Rangers, Walden is 0-and-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three appearances.
Rangers Baseball Tonight begins a half hour before every game on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network.