Neftali Feliz has yet to be able to consistently rediscover his form from 2010 and 2011 when he was the AL Rookie of the Year and an all-star closer for the Texas Rangers as the closer for the back-to-back AL pennant winners.
On Monday, for one night at least, Feliz looked like the dominant closer of old in finishing off the hottest team in baseball and ending the Astros' win streak at 10 games.
Feliz got a quick three outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, needing just 11 pitches to get three outs — two coming by strikeout. He used his steadily improving slider, and his final pitch of the game was a 96 mph inside heater to get Chris Carter for the save — his third of the season.
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The problem for Feliz has been consistency, and some of the lack of that has likely come from an inconsistent work schedule with Feliz often having to pitch in non-save situations just to get his work in. As we all know, there's something in the mind of a closer that doesn't allow them to pitch to their full potential when the pressure of locking down a save isn't there.
If the Rangers can stabilize and even play .500 baseball, it could help Feliz settle into his rhythm a little better and give him a chance to be more consistent. Otherwise, we might never see the Feliz we saw Monday night on a consistent basis ever again.