Feliz gave up a single to the very first batter he faced, Victor Martinez, but then he was able to retire the next six batters he faced, including 3 strikeouts, to close out the game. It was Neftali’s first home start, and I’m sure that the sold-out crowd was quite impressed. In his 5 big league outings, Feliz has now struck out 16 of 29 batters faced. That’s more than half!
Ian Kinsler had a pretty dramatic 1st game back from the DL too. In his first at-bat, he hit a home run. Pretty nice! He also had one of the stolen bases last night, as I mentioned before. And there was a heart-stopping moment in the bottom of the 8th inning when Ian was drilled by a pitch… in the HEAD! It definitely didn’t look intentional, but it definitely did look scary. Ian writhed around in the dirt for awhile, but then he popped up looking none too pleased with pitcher Fernando Cabrera. He had some heated words for Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, but then he took his base without further incident. They had been piching inside to Ian all night, and apparently one just got away from Cabrera. They interviewed Kinsler before today’s game, and he said that he spoke to Varitek after the game last night, and that they had put all of their problems behind them. And luckily, Kins wasn’t hurt. Thank goodness!!
Today’s pitching matchup: Our Dustin Nippert (3-1) against Red Sox rookie Junichi Tazawa (1-1). Both pitchers are pretty green, but I have faith in Nippert, especially considering what he’s been able to do for the Rangers this year. He’s been absolutely stellar when having to pinch start or in long relief. Even though his last outing didn’t go too well, I’m not willing to write off this kid after one “bad” outing. His last outing wasn’t even very bad! His biggest problem was one bad inning and the fact that the Rangers’ offense couldn’t score to back him up! Considering that the Rangers really want to win this game and take the series win against the BoSox today, securing a 1/2 game lead in the Wild Card race, I think we’ve got this one. Hopefully!