Oliver knows All-Star odds are slim
The left-handed reliever is 0-0 with a 1.51 ERA in 35 2/3 innings pitched (33 appearances). He has 40 strikeouts and seven walks and opponents are batting .181 against him. Yes, he gave up a bases-clearing single to Bobby Abreu on Tuesday. But that doesn't diminish his overall first half, which has been impressive.
Oliver's ERA is the best in the AL among non-closers with more than 25 innings. Stacked up against all relievers with at least 20 innings, he's fourth behind Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit and Mariano Rivera.
Oliver said he doesn't really think about the All-Star Game, knowing that non-closers rarely get on the club. The last one was Carlos Marmol of the Cubs in 2008. The Rangers did have a setup man, Jeff Zimmerman, make it in 1999.
"My wife joked that we have plans during that All-Star break anyway," Oliver said before Tuesday's game. "I'm not really thinking about it. It usually doesn't happen. If Wash was managing the game, I think I'd have a chance."
No question about that. But I do think setup men should get more consideration for the All-Star Game. And few relievers are having the kind of year Oliver has and there certainly aren't many as valuable to their teams as Oliver is to the Rangers.
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