Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, speaking for the first time since a gut-wrenching World Series loss, divulged Wednesday that closer Neftali Feliz was in no condition mentally to return for the 10th inning of Game 6.
With the Rangers just one strike away from winning the world championship against the St. Louis Cardinals, Feliz gave up two runs in the ninth inning of Game 6 to force extra innings.
"We'll just say that he was really upset and his state of mind at the time wasn't where we felt like he could go out there and get it done," Washington told the Ben and Skin Show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "And the lineup set up perfectly for Darren Oliver, and he didn't get it done.
"So it wasn't like we didn't get it done because Neftali didn't go back out there. I still feel like that lineup set up perfectly for who we put out there and the job just didn't get done. The end result is we just didn't get it done."
After taking a two-run lead in the 10th inning, the Rangers again were just one strike from winning the World Series. Instead, the Cardinals tied it again off Oliver before eventually winning the game in the 11th to force a deciding Game 7.
Before the deciding game, Washington gave an expletive-laced, spine-tingling pre-game clubhouse speech to the Rangers, which has since been leaked by a team staff member and gone viral.
The club investigated the incident and handled disciplinary action in-house, general manager Jon Daniels said.
"I got phone calls from friends that heard it on the Internet and they were excited," Washington said Tuesday. "[The players] were ready to go out on the field and play some baseball. That was the real purpose of it.
"But it was us. It was the Texas Rangers in there talking and trying to get fired up and understand what was at stake. We went out there and jumped on them [the Cardinals] right away. We just couldn't hold them down. As it turned out the St. Louis Cardinals are truly the world champions."
Jeff Caplan covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.