After three saves in his first three tries following the trade of Joakim Soria, it looked like Neftali Feliz was well on his way to entrenching himself back into the Texas Rangers' closer's role, albeit with a slightly different pitch arsenal that didn't include 100-mph fastballs.
Then on Sunday, he made everyone hold their breath in a save opportunity against the Indians that ended with him allowing a game-tying homer in a game the Rangers eventually lost in extra innings. In that game, Feliz struggled to touch 90 mph on the radar gun and was consistently sitting in the upper 80s with his fastball. Not good.
Fast-forward to Wednesday afternoon in Chicago, and Feliz was called upon to get the final two outs in a 3-1 victory over the White Sox. Feliz made it look easy with two strikeouts, including his final pitch of the game — a 96-mph heater on the outside paint for Strike 3, ballgame.
Feliz is going to have his peaks and valleys due to the fact he can't dominate like he once did with low- to mid-90s fastballs instead of upper-90s/triple-digit heat. But that last pitch on Wednesday was promising and had to give Feliz some confidence moving forward knowing he has the final two months of the year to prove he can be a big-league closer again like he was when he was winning AL Rookie of the Year awards and putting up 40 saves.