I’ve all but worn out the “Neftali Feliz should be a starter” argument in the past few months. The response back every time I’ve made it is “the Rangers plan on keeping him as a closer now, but moving him to the rotation in 2012.” Well, it seems that Neftali Feliz himself hasn’t gotten the memo on that:
“I spent most of spring training as a starter and I enjoyed it. But I’m a closer now, and God willing I’ll remain a closer the rest of my career. I made the decision that I won’t start anymore … The team has told me that next year I would still have the chance to start, but I don’t want to do it anymore. This year my arm didn’t feel good after they moved me from the rotation back to closing, so I don’t want to go through that again and risk the same thing happening.”
That’s quite odd. If the change to closing is what made his arm feel bad, doesn’t that imply that his arm felt good while starting? And isn’t at least possible that the more frequent work as a relief pitcher, even if it’s a lower overall work load, is what is causing his problems?
And above all else, is this decision really one for Feliz to make as opposed to Ron Washington, Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan?
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.