After watching the Texas Rangers lose three games late over the past week and a half, it was high time for Neftali Feliz to come off of his 15-day DL stint for shoulder inflammation, which we were all told was just a precautionary stay on the shelf.
After seeing his performance on Saturday night in his return to the mound, it's easy to believe it was only precautionary.
Feliz made his return to the 9th inning, which was a sore spot for the Rangers in his absence with 40-plus year-olds Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver taking his spot in his absence. He made quick work of the dreaded and feared Yankees' lineup, slamming the door shut on just 11 pitches.
Feliz's return is obviously huge, but it is more than just the actual return of one of the best closers in baseball.
It allows Oliver and Rhodes to return to their more comfortable roles as 7th and 8th inning set up men. In fact, both were great in the more relaxed roles on Saturday night.
Oliver pitched the seventh and eighth innings and allowed just one hit, and Rhodes came in to get the final two outs of the sixth inning with two strikeouts on just six pitches. You can do the math there, but that's an impressive 2/3 of an inning.
Now, if the Rangers can get the game to the ninth inning, they should win. They're battling a big case of the injury bug right now, but Feliz is one key cog that's back, and it will make a difference until Josh Hamilton returns, and even now Nelson Cruz despite his slump this season.