After working as the Rangers’ closer for the past two seasons, Feliz was moved into the starting pitching rotation this offseason. For the first time in his major league career, Neftali Feliz took the mound as the starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers in last night’s game against the Seattle Mariners, and it was an incredible start for the right-handed pitcher out of the Dominican Republic.
Feliz admitted to feeling a “little pressure” before the game, which became clear as he struggled with control a bit early, walking two of the first three batters he faced. However, those were his only two walks on the night, and once he settled in, he was outstanding.
The 23-year-old pitcher threw seven complete innings–by far the longest outing of his professional career. In those seven innings he pitched a shut-out, allowing just four hits and striking out four batters.
In a change of roles, Feliz handed the ball off and watched the final innings from the dugout. Mike Adams and Joe Nathan pitched the final two innings of the game, keeping the shut-out in tact as the Rangers went on to defeat the Mariners by a score of 1-0.
Known for his fastball, Feliz worked on his change-up and slider over the summer, both of which were effective in last night’s game.
After the win, catcher Mike Napoli told the press,”He mixed in all his pitches, got ahead, threw first-pitch off-speed strikes and threw inside. [It was a] great night for him.”
Indeed it was.
Through one complete rotation, the Rangers’ starting pitchers are a combined 4-0 and have a 2.93 ERA.