Neftali Feliz sure is making things interesting.
Feliz did get the save in the Texas Rangers‘ 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. But the “Wild Thing” factor may be causing some worry.
The last couple of outings, Feliz seems to have trouble finding his command, evident in this game by walking two in the final inning. It got to the point where Feliz seemed agitated at himself on the mound.
It could be the Feliz is still shaking off some rust after being on the disabled list earlier in the season with shoulder inflammation. But Rangers fans are not use to seeing him having trouble closing out games. Last week in Kansas City, Feliz blew two straight save opportunities against the Royals. The Rangers were able to salvage a split in those games. But Feliz’s ineffectiveness started raising some eyebrows. He did manage to bounce back and get a save against the Philadelphia Phillies in what was the only win for the Rangers.
Feliz looked somewhat relieved after the White Sox game during the traditional high-five line with his teammates. He said after the game that “he can’t get frustrated and keep trying to keep the pitches level and low.” Feliz also stresses that his shoulder is fine.
Looking on the bright side, this outing could be just what the doctor ordered as far as getting back on track. Relievers do go through stretches during the year where they have trouble closing games out. The fact that Feliz was so dominant last year plays a part in many of the worries early on. But he does have 10 saves on the season, along with a 1.13 ERA, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
In the end, all that matters is getting the job done, which Feliz is doing. It just may not be pretty all of the time.
Written by C. James