Neftali Feliz tries to help the Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles for the sixth straight time this evening when the division leaders continue a four-game set at Camden Yards.
Feliz did not get a decision on Tuesday in Toronto, as he allowed four runs and four hits in five innings of an 8-7 loss. The converted reliever, though, did walk six batters.
However, in four starts this season opponents are batting only .188 (16- for-85) against Feliz and he has given up only four extra-base hits. He's 1-1 on the campaign with a 3.81 ERA.
"It's growing," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Feliz. "He's got to grow. He'll grow into it. The main thing is he just couldn't get the ball down. He elevated it.
"He needs command of his fastball. ... That's what got him in trouble in Toronto. If he commands his fastball, there are not many people who are going to hit Neftali."
Baltimore counters with an exciting youngster of its own in righty Jake Arrieta, who was brilliant in beating the New York Yankees his last time out. Arrieta scattered five hits over eight scoreless innings of that one and struck out nine without walking a batter, as he improved to 2-2, while lowering his ERA to 3.52.
"Confidence is how well you pitch," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "That's the momentum. That's why it's human beings. It's always the case. Are you going to just bleed or what are you going to do? And our guys, I think they understand the reality of each day bringing a different challenge."
Arrieta has faced the Rangers three times and is 1-2 with a 5.51 ERA.
Texas got the best of the O's in Monday's opener, as Brandon Snyder belted a three-run blast and knocked in six runs, propelling the Rangers to a 14-3 rout.
Matt Harrison (4-2) allowed three runs on six hits and a walk over seven frames. Michael Young and Josh Hamilton each smacked two-run homers while Nelson Cruz finished with three hits and three runs scored to help the Rangers earn their second win in three tries.
Brian Matusz (1-4) surrendered seven runs on 10 hits and two walks over five- plus innings of work. Wilson Betemit crushed a two-run homer and Robert Andino added a solo blast, but the O's saw their five-game win streak come to an end.
"He never really got into a good rhythm," Showalter said of Matusz. "That's a good right-handed hitting lineup and they squared up a lot of balls off him."
The Rangers won their final five meetings with the Orioles last season, scoring 13 runs three times over that span.