Just when Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz started to look like Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz again, Wednesday night happened. Feliz entered the game to start the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead and the Rangers ended up losing 5-3 after he gave up four runs on four hits, including a two-run home run, in just 2/3 of an inning of work, watching his ERA skyrocket from 1.98 to 3.21.
After going through a rough stretch since coming off the disabled list Feliz had begun to look like the guy that won the AL Rookie of the Year award after racking up 40 saves a year ago.
Take away a meaningless outing in New York on June 15 when he just needed some work in what was a 12-4 Rangers loss, and Feliz was back to his old self.
Aside from that game in Yankee Stadium, he had thrown 7 2/3 innings in seven outings, giving up zero runs and four hits while striking out nine, including two in each of his last three outings.
On Tuesday night against the Astros, Feliz threw two innings in the Rangers' 11-inning win and shut the Astros down, throwing 35 pitches.
Then on Wednesday, Feliz surprisingly said he was available to pitch.
Check out these numbers from Rangers czar Jamey Newberg on Feliz's past outings when he threw 30-plus pitches.
Twice before in 2011, Feliz threw more than 30 pitches in an outing. He went on the disabled list after the first one (31 pitches on April 20 against the Angels), and got two nights off after the second one (32 pitches on May 19 in Kansas City, blown save). He threw 30 pitches only two times in 2010: in a blown save against Detroit on April 23, a week and a half after assuming the closer’s role, and in Game Two of the ALCS in New York. In each case he got a day off afterwards.
So yeah... Even though he said he was available, perhaps Ron Washington should've vetoed that. The only thing is, when Dave Freaking Bush is the set-up man on a given night, you know your bullpen is thin.
Wednesday night just went to show that the Rangers are in desperate need of bullpen help, and quickly. As for Feliz, Rangers fans needn't worry too much. They have a day off today and watch the Mets come to town this weekend, along with closer Francisco Rodriguez, a potential Rangers target.