Neftali Feliz blames command, not fatigue

ARLINGTON -- Rangers closer Neftali Feliz said his arm felt just fine on the mound Wednesday, but that his location wasn't good enough to get the save in the Rangers' 5-3 loss.

Feliz, who gave up four runs in the blown save in the ninth, told pitching coach Mike Maddux before the game that he was ready to pitch. But Feliz didn't have the same dominating stuff that he showed in his last three outings.

"I left balls up in the zone and they hit them," Feliz said through a translator. "I felt good. My arm was OK."

Feliz threw 35 pitches in two innings Tuesday, the first time this season he'd pitched two full innings. Manager Ron Washington didn't see anything that would indicate Feliz was tired. And he did not second-guess the decision to try to use Feliz for a second straight game.

"We had the right guy in there at the right point," Washington said. "He just dind't get it done. We're not going to sit here and make excuses."

Neither did catcher Yorvit Torrealba. He gave up a passed ball that allowed the tying run to score in the ninth before Feliz gave up a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Matt Downs.

"That's a pitch I should have caught," Torrealba said. "I've caught it, I don't know, the last 10 years probably a million times. There's no reason for me not to be able to catch that ball."

The blown save comes after the bullpen performed well the two previous series, preserving late leads in Atlanta and helping the Rangers win the first two games against the Astros. But on Wednesday, the Rangers didn't want to use Mark Lowe or Yoshinori Tateyama because both have had a lot of work lately. That's one reason Dave Bush was in a 2-0 game in the eighth inning. When Bush signed with Texas, his role was as a middle reliever, not a guy to be pitching in tight games late. He allowed one run, but limited the damage after two hits to start the eighth with a ground-ball double-play. The Rangers got the run back in the ninth, so they had the game right where they wanted it with Feliz coming in.

"He put some pitches in spots and they didn't miss," Washington said. "They hit the ball hard."

It happens. And Feliz's teammates were not concerned about their closer after the loss.

"He pitched two innings last night and he threw like 30-something pitches, and today he was feeling good," Torrealba said. "As long as he's feeling healthy, I'm not concerned at all."

Feliz has four blown saves in 2011. He had three in all of 2010, ending up with 40 saves and the AL Rookie of the Year honors.

"All I can do is come to the park tomorrow and do my job," Feliz said. "That's what I'll do."

Of course, tomorrow is an off day. Feliz and his teammates can use it. They'll get back to work Friday against the Mets.