Friday, October 28, 2011
Key stat: Walks cost Neftali Feliz
ST. LOUIS - Neftali Feliz had recorded six consecutive saves in the 2011 postseason, and he had allowed just three hits in 11 1/3 innings - none in his past six appearances.
His ERA was 0.87.
Flawless, right? Hardly.
Feliz had walked a batter in each of his last three performances and seven in the postseason before he entered Game 6.
Finally, the walks hurt him.
After a one-out double to Albert Pujols, Feliz walked Lance Berkman on four pitches - none close to the strike zone. Berkman eventually scored the tying run on David Freese's triple to right on a 1-2 pitch, and the Cardinals won, 10-9, in the 11th.
"One pitch. That's all we needed," Ron Washington said. "We just didn't get it."
Now, Feliz has 12 strikeouts and eight walks in this postseason.
An ideal ratio is 2:1.
Closers have so little margin of error that consistently walking batters usually winds up in disaster. It's among the reasons the Rangers are playing Game 7 tonight.