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Friday, May 18, 2012
Neftali Feliz with a long night

By Calvin Watkins

HOUSTON -- The good news is the Texas Rangers won the ballgame, 4-1, over the Houston Astros on Friday night. The bad news is starter Neftali Feliz struggled with his control in 4 2/3 innings and was pulled one out away from becoming the pitcher of record.

That went to left-handed reliever Robbie Ross, who went 2 1/3 innings to improve to 5-0 on the season. Manager Ron Washington pulled Feliz with two outs and two men on in the fifth inning.

"He just had problems struggling with his command tonight," Washington said. "He just was fighting himself and he just couldn't dial in that rhythm. But he only gave up three hits and one run and if he would have ever found it, it would have been one heck of a ballgame."

Feliz has just one victory this month and while the Rangers have seen some positive results from him, Friday night was not good. Feliz allowed just one run on three hits, but he walked five, including the pitcher, and he struck out six. Feliz couldn't control his fastball and struggled with his release point several times while throwing 101 pitches.

"I felt real uncomfortable trying to execute my pitches," Feliz said through an interpreter. "I was frustrated and I couldn't locate the pitches like I wanted to. I felt different. I wasn't executing. Every game is different. I just couldn't do what I wanted to do tonight."

Feliz got a little talking to by Washington in the fourth inning after he walked pitcher Wandy Rodriguez with two outs. Washington jogged to the mound and did all the talking. When he was finished, he patted Feliz and strolled back to the dugout.

Feliz struck out Jordan Schafer to end the inning.

Washington wouldn't say what was said, but joked the two were talking about going out to dinner and Feliz wanted Italian.

"He just told me to get ahead and keep trying," said Feliz, whose ERA is now 3.16.