The Rangers are hoping that Neftali Feliz can retake the closer’s role after Joe Nathan departed for the Tigers, but according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, his mechanics are “out of whack” in the early going. Grant writes that Feliz is not getting his arm extended enough to generate velocity, which is Feliz’s calling card.
If the Rangers aren’t happy with Feliz’s performance in spring training, Joakim Soria could wind up as the closer. Soria missed all of the 2012 and more than half of the 2013 season after recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He finished with a 3.80 ERA in 23 2/3 innings with the Rangers between July and September last season. From 2007-10, he was one of baseball’s elite closers with the Royals.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: