Feldman and Feliz: Good night.
Texas 5, Baltimore 1.
Chicago 12, Boston 2.
Detroit 4, Tampa Bay 3.
Los Angeles 2, Kansas City 1 (thanks to He Whom I Cannot Watch Pitch, John Bale’s ankle mechanics, Roman “Spastic” Colon, and super-turbo-zero Yuniesky Betancourt).
Wild Card deficit: 2.0 games.
Division deficit: 3.5 games, with seven left against the Angels, against whom Texas has won 9 of 12. The first of those head-to-head matches immediately follows four on the road for Los Angeles, one in New York and three in Boston.
Those three Angels-Red Sox games (September 15-17) are going to be fascinating to keep tabs on, as the Rangers host Oakland the first two nights and have their final day off on the third. Take care of business against the A’s, and we automatically gain ground on one of the two teams we’re chasing.
Texas is 18 games over .500 for the first time since there was a week to go in the 2004 season. The Rangers can’t afford to play .500 ball from here on out, but even if they do, that’s 90 wins.
At least 15 of which will have been credited to Scott Feldman. The only Rangers pitchers to win that many since Kenny Rogers’s 18 in 2004 were Kevin Millwood (16) and Vicente Padilla (15) in 2006. Millwood made 34 starts that season, Padilla 33, while Feldman has made only 25 this year, and their ERA’s (4.52 and 4.50) were nearly a run higher than Feldman’s (3.62 – and 3.24 as a starter).
As silly as Neftali Feliz’s numbers are, watching him work is even crazier. How the Pacific Coast League managed to score 30 earned runs in his 77.1 innings, I’ll never understand.
But as for the numbers, digest this: Feliz walked 3.5 batters per nine innings in AAA, an acceptable number. In the bigs, it’s 0.4 per nine (one walk in 22 innings).
Feliz set 8.7 AAA batters down on strikes per nine innings. More than acceptable. In the bigs: 11.5 per nine.
Feliz’s AAA WHIP: a reasonable 1.28. In the bigs: 0.27.
Feliz threw 63 percent of his AAA pitches for strikes. Big leagues: 67 percent.
Feliz’s AAA slash line: .240/.318/.347. Big leagues: .070/.096/.113.
One of the great things about Feliz’s ability to close tonight’s win out by himself reveals itself when you do some digging into C.J. Wilson’s season.
Wilson pitching on no days’ rest in 2009 (16 appearances): 10.80 ERA, 5.4 walks per nine innings, slash line of .344/.417/.531.
On one day of rest (20 appearances) : 2.37 ERA, 6.2 walks per nine, .147/.310/.235.
Two days’ rest (12 appearances): 0.66 ERA, 3.3 walks per nine, .250/.333/.354.
Three or more days’ rest (12 appearances): 0.00 ERA, 0.6 walks per nine, .170/.185/.189 (one walk and one extra-base hit in 54 plate appearances).
While we’re at it, Frankie Francisco on no days’ rest (11 appearances): 11.00 ERA, 5.0 walks per nine, .359/.432/.692.
One day of rest (12 appearances): 2.77 ERA, 2.77 walks per nine, .224/.296/.367.
Two or more days’ rest (18 appearances): 0.00 ERA, 1.02 walks per nine, .129/.156/.339.
(Both Wilson and Francisco have a hitless inning of Game Two work when pitching both ends of a doubleheader.)
There’s also Wilson’s staggering home-away split (0.76 ERA, 2.8 walks per nine, .158/.252/.208 in Arlington; 6.41 ERA, 5.74 walks per nine, .296/.386/.452 on the road), but you certainly can’t shut him down in road series.
(And the first batter Wilson faces is hitting .327/.450/.429. Everyone else: .199/.280/.301. How about that?)
Back to the main point: both Wilson and Francisco are a lot better when they get a day off between appearances – and virtually untouchable when they get two days off, or more. Something to keep in mind, and an extra reason to appreciate Feliz’s ability to finish the Orioles off alone tonight.
Nobody turns the 3U-6 double play better than Chris Davis did tonight. Nobody.
What do righthanders Luis Mendoza and Omar Poveda, catcher Max Ramirez, infielder Joaquin Arias, outfielder Greg Golson, and Andruw Jones have in common?
They’re the only six members of the Rangers’ 40-man roster not active right now.
That’s a crowded dugout these days, and what appears to be a really loose one, great to see considering Michael Young and Josh Hamilton are out of action (though Hamilton could be back this weekend). It wouldn’t be surprising to see this pennant race-inexperienced club give the appearance of pressing right now, all things considered, but they sure don’t seem to be.
Feldman is clearly this team’s best starter right now, but Millwood still carries the responsibility of being the number one. Time for Millwood (4-1 in five career starts at Camden Yards) to keep this good roll going on Saturday, to help this team continue to care of business.
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(c) Jamey Newberg