Neftali Feliz: Nerves? What nerves?
"I can't catch it when it's not in the vicinity," said catcher Taylor Teagarden about the 102 mph fastballs. "I let two balls go to the backstop and I told the umpire, 'I'm trying to catch those, but they're at 101.' There's just extra life when the ball comes to you. You can almost hear it when it comes to you."
Feliz, of course, mixed in his curve and changeup to make the hard stuff even more effective. He was calm and collected when trying to get the final three outs of the game on the road in Cleveland's home opener. When asked if he was nervous, Feliz shook his head and said, 'No'.
"I'm already past that," said Feliz, through translator Julio Borbon. "I've been in situations similar. It's the same mentality: Just attack the hitters and work the count."
Feliz said it doesn't matter to him if this is the beginning of a long career as a closer or if he one day starts.
"Whatever keeps me playing," Feliz said.
Manager Ron Washington was sure pleased with how his young closer -- promoted after Frank Francisco blew two saves over the weekend -- did in his debut in the role.
"I was so glad he was able to get Brantley because I didn't want to see [Shin Soo] Choo up there," said Washington. Choo was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, including a homer, but was on deck when the game ended. "He was out there under control. I didn't see any nerves. I just saw a guy out there doing what he does -- throw the baseball. He got us the three outs we needed."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.