Tag:NEftali Feliz
Posted on: October 24, 2010 6:19 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2010 9:27 am
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Caught looking at end of season

Ryan Howard The great Baseball Reference blog strikes again. This time, looking at something both Ryan Howard and Alex Rodriguez did this postseason -- ending their team's postseason by looking at a called third strike . On Friday Rodriguez became the ninth player in history to do so, and the next night Howard became the 10th.

Here's a look at the rest, which has seen nine of its 10 members join the club in the last 31 years.

Ryan Howard, 2010 NLCS vs. Brian Wilson
Alex Rodriguez, 2010 ALCS vs. Neftali Feliz
Carlos Beltran, 2006 NLCS vs. Adam Wainwright
Terrence Long, 2003 ALDS vs. Derek Lowe
Roberto Alomar, 1997 ALCS vs. Jose Mesa
Omar Vizquel, 1996 ALDS vs. Randy Myers
Howard Johnson, 1988 NLCS vs. Orel Hershiser
Willie Randolph, 1980 ALCS vs. Dan Quisenberry
Cesar Geronimo, 1979 NLCS vs. Bert Blyleven
Goose Goslin, 1925 World Series vs. Red Oldham

It's no surprise with more playoff series, it's become more uncommon. What's interesting, to me at least, is that only one World Series has ended on a called third strike -- 1925, when Washington's Goslin looked at third strike to give Pittsburgh the title. A total of 16 World Series have ended on strikeouts, but with two strikes and the season coming down to one pitch, most will get the bat off their shoulder and at least try to put the ball in play.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 22, 2010 6:50 pm
 

Players choice finalists announced

Carlos Gonzalez In September, major-league players voted for the Players Choice Awards, coordinated by the union. Friday, the MLBPA released the three finalists for each of the awards, which will be announced over the course of next week.

Player of the year (both leagues): Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies, pictured), Josh Hamilton (Rangers), Joey Votto (Reds).

Man of the year (for off-field efforts): Torii Hunter (Angels), Brandon Inge (Tigers), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies).

NL outstanding player: Gonzalez, Albert Pujols (Cardinals), Votto.

NL outstanding pitcher: Roy Halladay (Phillies), Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies), Adam Wainwright (Cardinals).

NL outstanding rookie: Jaime Garcia (Cardinals), Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants).

NL comeback player: R.A. Dickey (Mets), Tim Hudson (Braves), Aubrey Huff (Giants).

AL outstanding player: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Hamilton.

AL outstanding pitcher: Felix Hernandez (Mariners), David Price (Rays), CC Sabathia (Yankees).

AL outstanding rookie: Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Austin Jackson (Tigers).

AL comeback player: Freddy Garcia (White Sox), Vladimir Guerrero (Rangers), Francisco Liriano (Twins).

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 16, 2010 12:55 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 1:02 pm
 

Where was Feliz? Bullpen mismanagement costs game

Ron Washington During the Rangers' collapse Friday night that could haunt the franchise for years to come, manager Ron Washington burned through five pitchers in the eighth inning.

Not a one was Neftali Feliz, the 22-year-old closer that could have stemmed the tide. And yet, it's hard to argue against Washington's thought process in terms of bullpen machinations until tabbing Derek Holland, the fifth pitcher of the inning.

The skipper replaced starter C.J. Wilson with a runner on second and a man already across the plate. (One could argue replacing Wilson was the first screw-up.) He chose lefty Darren Oliver to face Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira in order to get them to hit from the right side of the plate. Good idea. Bad execution, as Oliver walked both batters. That meant Darren O'Day, a groundball specialist, was headed into the game to face Alex Rodriguez in the hopes of inducing a double play.

Good idea. Bad execution.

O'Day's first pitch was a groundball, technically -- a missile that skipped off the ground and ate Michael Young up for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There may have been a midnight snack.

Then, Clay Rapada, who had all of nine innings of experience with the Rangers this season, came on to try to nullify Robinson Cano who had bashed a home run the inning prior. Yet again a good idea, yet again bad execution. Another hit, and New York was still on the merry-go-round and a 5-1 Rangers lead had evaporated into a tie.

At that point, Washington was faced with three choices. One, he could bring in closer Neftali Feliz, who could at least keep the game tied. Two, Alexi Ogando, a right-hander who has been excellent in relief, could come on to face what would have been pinch-hitter Lance Berkman. Three, Washington could keep Rapada in the game or bring in Derek Holland to face Marcus Thames.

This is where Washington's choices fell apart.

Marcus Thames is a lefty killer and has been so his entire career. He has a career .264/.333/.505 line against lefties in 750 career at-bats. He was specifically brought to New York to act as a platoon player and face lefties.

Meanwhile, Berkman has struggled through a poor season and only snapped out of a funk. However, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out, Berkman is hitting .356 against right-handed pitching since Sept. 1, and that was the statistic Washington keyed in on and made him choose the Holland/Thames matchup.

"We really had to pick who we wanted to face," Washington said. "We got the matchup we wanted. They just beat us."

There is some doubt as to whether the matchup they got was what they wanted, as there's certainly plenty of reasons that Ogando or Feliz would have been able to neutralize Berkman. Simply looking at the ERAs and xFIPs of each pitcher shows that Holland was the worse of the three pitchers to head to the mound, and Holland did so against someone whose job is to hit left-handed pitching.

Feliz ended up never entering the game, and Washington says it's because the rookie has "never" been asked to get six outs in a game.

"He's never done anything like that," Washington told the Morning News . "I wouldn't do that. I had the people I wanted in the game. They didn't get it done. It happens."

"Never" is a strong word. It means Feliz has never gotten six outs in a game before.

So what happened April 21 and August 10 against the Red Sox and August 13 against these very Yankees? How about 2009, when Feliz joined the team in mid-August as a reliever? He got eight outs once, seven once, six outs six times (of course), five outs twice and four outs four times.

Yes, that was 2009. But he's done it in 2010 as well, against two of the more potent hitting teams, one of which was the opponent Friday night.

Feliz should have entered the game to face Lance Berkman at the latest, holding back Ogando and Holland for extra innings if needed. Given Holland was a starter, he would have been able to go multiple innings if needed. One could argue Feliz should have entered to face Alex Rodriguez.

Instead, he never did. And now Texas is down one game in the ALCS.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 10:12 am
 

Rangers open to return to rotation for Feliz

Neftali Feliz Neftail Feliz has been a sensation as the Rangers' closer, slamming the door shut 37 times on the year with a 2.95 ERA.

At just 22, the future is bright for the fireballer, who has a 9.3 K.9 ratio against a scant 2.4 walks per nine. Despite Feliz' success in closing, the Rangers are rightfully open to returning Feliz to the rotation, from whence he came.

A report by Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse says GM Jon Daniels hasn't closed the door on Feliz starting. Although all his major-league experience comes out of the bullpen, 53 of his career 79 games in the minors are as a starter. He posted a 2.67 ERA in 29 starts for Double-A in 2008 split between mid-Class A and Double-A.

In 2009, Feliz made 13 starts for Triple-A, while appearing in an additional 12 out of the bullpen. He notched a 3.49 ERA before being called up to the majors for good. Possessing a wicked fastball, he pairs it with an effective curve and a solid changeup. Having at least three pitches is crucial for survival in the rotation, so Feliz has that going for him.

What he doesn't is a listed height of 6 feet, 3 inches and weight of 190 pounds. Teams are very leery of slender pitchers holding up long-term in the rotation with Pedro Martinez' success the exception, not the norm.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 1, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 4:22 pm
 

Evaluating the AL Rookie of the Year race

There has been an abundance of quality rookies hitting the majors in 2010... except most of them are in the National League.

In the American League, it's a decidedly different story. Oh sure, there's plenty of talent here -- of the names below, plenty of All-Star Game appearances will be racked up.

Brennan Boesch LF/RF Brennan Boesch
Detroit Tigers
.269/.329/.452, 432 PA, 41 R, 21 2B, 14 HR, 61 RBI, -1.7 UZR/150, 0 DRS, 1.4 WAR

Brennan Boesch's second half of the season has been the complete opposite of the first half, when Boesch burst on the scene with an exclamation mark. Still, his first half was so strong, he deserves real consideration for the award -- and if he can pull off a hot September, could actually make a run for it. His .342/.397/.593 OPS in 267 first-half plate appearances is nothing short of incredible, especially given Boesch was an unheralded prospect. In the second half, he has a paltry .152./218/.225, unsurprising given regression to the mean and his lacking peripherals. Still, his overall line remains strong enough to contend in a diluted pool of candidates.

Wade Davis SP Wade Davis
Tampa Bay Rays
11-9, 134 1/3 IP, 4.29 ERA, 51 BB, 85 K, 4.96 xFIP, 0.3 WAR

Davis hasn't had his season go entirely to plan, but is the only starting pitcher worthy of consideration with 11 wins and an ERA approximating a solid starter even if his xFIP points out that he's in actuality, a back-of-the-rotation starter. He'll likely top 100 strikeouts and will have his case bolstered by being a year-long member of a rotation that made the postseason. Davis skidded in June with a 6.00 ERA, but has turned his season back around and so far in August, is having his best month in peripherals.

Neftali Feliz CL Neftali Feliz
Texas Rangers
33 SV, 57 IP, 3.32 ERA, 16 BB, 59 K, 3.77 xFIP, 1.2 WAR

The prohibitive favorite, Feliz has notched 33 saves for the AL West-leading Rangers and done so in spectacular fashion, blowing away hitters left and right when he trots in from the dugout. Even though Texas should try to slot him in the rotation long-term, for now, he's been everything the Rangers needed at the end of a ballgame. If he can get to 40 saves in September, he should have the award all but locked up. Austin Jackson is Feliz's biggest competition for an award, and how both players produce in September will dictate the outcome.

Austin Jackson CF Austin Jackson

Detroit Tigers
.304/.357/.406, 542 PA, 83 R, 29 2B, 8 3B, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 3.4 UZR/150, 19 DRS, 3.1 WAR

Jackson has been quite lucky this season -- there's no denying that. However, there's also no denying that he can hit for contact despite a lack of walks and a propensity of strikeouts. He's also one of the best fielders in the game, which goes a long way towards giving him the best WAR ahead of anyone else on the list. Simply put -- he's contributed the most wins to a team of any rookie in the league. It's possible Jackson could lose some votes to teammate Boesch.

Sergio Santos RP Sergio Santos
Chicago White Sox
42 IP, 2.36 ERA, 22 BB, 43 K, 4.18 xFIP, 0.6 WAR

Why Santos on this list? Because unlike the rest of the rookie candidates, he's the last remaining who has made a tangible impact on his team's season. Santos has quickly morphed from a light-hitting infielder to one of the best relievers in the game, and closing may be in his future. Until then, he still has much to learn about pitching -- but not much to learn about how to throw a fastball. A big reason the White Sox are in contention is due to Santos, J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton all but putting the seventh and eighth innings out of reach.

Apologies to: Brian Matusz, Mitch Talbot

 -- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: August 23, 2010 9:57 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:53 am
 

Rangers' no-hitter broken up in 9th

Rich Harden The Rangers' Rich Harden has a no-hitter through six innings against the Twins.

Harden has walked four and stuck out five.

However, it's taken him 94 pitches to get through six and Ron Washington had a reliever up and warming in the bullpen after a leadoff walk in the sixth. A double play and a long fly later, the Harden went back to the dugout, nine outs away from the season's sixth no-hitter.

This is Harden's first start off the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.

The Rangers lead 3-0.

UPDATE: After Joe Mauer flied out and Jason Kubel struck out, Harden walked Michael Cuddyer on four pitches. He threw 111 pitches and Ron Washington came out to talk to Harden before replacing him with lefty Matt Harrison to face Jim Thome. Harden had only thrown more than 111 pitches once this season.

UPDATE: Thome lined out to end the seventh. The last combined no-hitter in the big leagues was June 11, 2003, when Roy Oswalt left after one inning with an injury and was followed by Peter Munro (2 2/3 innings), Kirk Saarloos (1 1/3 innings), Brad Lidge (2 innings), Octavio Dotel (1 inning) and Billy Wagner (1 inning).

UPDATE: Darren O'Day retired three consecutive outs to set up Neftali Feliz to finish off the no-hitter.

UPDATE: Feliz is in. Denard Span pops up for the first out. Orlando Hudson walks. Joe Mauer singles up the middle on an 0-2 count to break up the no-hitter. Well played, Mauer.

UPDATE: The Rangers finish out the one-hitter and win, 4-0.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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