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What has happened to Neftali Feliz?

Jul 27, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers, Game 2 Getty Images

Last night Neftali Feliz blew his fifth save of the season and was yanked in the middle of the ninth inning after giving up three hits and a walk while recording just one out against the Twins.

Even after the poor appearance his ERA stands at a still-impressive 3.35, but he’s already blown more saves than he did all of last season in 18 fewer chances and the rest of Feliz’s numbers have fallen apart as well.

Last year Feliz had 9.2 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings while opponents hit .176 off him. This year Feliz has 6.2 strikeouts and 4.8 walks per nine innings while opponents hit .217 off him.

So his strikeouts are down 33 percent, his walks are up 110 percent, and his opponents’ batting average has risen 40 points. His average fastball velocity is down, but only 0.5 miles per hour, and he’s throwing his fastball the same 82 percent of the time as last year. However, his fastball has been far less effective and his curveball has gone from a major asset to a weakness.

Ron Washington is sticking with Feliz, because as the manager put it last night: “I’ll give him the ball again. There’s not much else I can do.”

  1. southpaw2k - Jul 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    “I’ll give him the ball again. There’s not much else I can do.”

    What he left out was, “….unless we bring in Heath Bell.”

    • icanspeel - Jul 27, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      I was thinking the same thing.. After another blown save they probably got right back on the phone with the Padres

  2. heyblueyoustink - Jul 27, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Maybe he’s channelling his inner Ryan Franklin?

  3. dodger88 - Jul 27, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Whether he is lights out as a closer or not, I hope the Rangers still make him a starter for 2012. The concern should be whether or not his overall confidence is being impacted by his recent closer difficulties.

  4. fcmlefty1 - Jul 27, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Its baseball. It happens. Really no shame in getting done in by a hall of famer and a potential future hall of famer in Thome & Mauer.

  5. dohpey28 - Jul 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Maybe screwing with him in spring training and letting him start might have been a bad idea.

    • paperlions - Jul 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

      Except that he would be about 5x as valuable as a starter, had always been a starter, and performed great as a starter, I totally agree with you.

      The bad idea is having him in the bullpen. Being a reliever is much more stressful on the arm than starting every 5 days.

    • oikosjeremy - Jul 27, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      Post hoc ergo propter hoc?

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