Mariners-Rangers Preview


Neftali Feliz is about to make his first career start.

Texas Rangers fans likely haven't forgotten his last relief appearance.

Feliz will take the mound for the first time since failing to close out the 2011 World Series for the Rangers when they continue a four-game home set Tuesday night against the Seattle Mariners.

The Rangers were twice one out away from their first championship in Game 6 of the World Series, the first time with Feliz trying to preserve a 7-5 lead in the ninth inning at St. Louis before he surrendered a two-run triple to David Freese.

Texas (3-1), of course, also blew a two-run advantage in the 10th, lost in the 11th on Freese's homer and lost the series the next night in Game 7.

"I can't explain why things happen the way they did, but that's what happens in life," Feliz told the Rangers' official website. "You have to learn from it and go forward."

The 2010 AL rookie of the year mostly thrived as the closer for Texas, converting 32 of 38 save opportunities last season with a 2.74 ERA. He went 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA in four spring training starts.

"He might struggle a little bit. But then again, he might not. We don't know," manager Ron Washington said. "We are going to take the chance, and as long as he is healthy, he will take the ball."

Feliz appears to be facing the right opponent for his first start. He has never allowed a run or a hit against Seattle (3-2) with four walks and 21 strikeouts in 16 innings over nine appearances. Ichiro Suzuki is 0 for 4 off the right-hander.

While Feliz will draw some attention, it won't compare to the amount Japanese sensation Yu Darvish got in his major league debut Monday. He allowed four runs in a 42-pitch first inning, but stayed in the game and yielded only one more run over the following 4 2-3, getting credit for an 11-5 victory.

The offense answered by matching its run total from the first three games. Nelson Cruz homered and drove in four runs and Josh Hamilton, Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler also went deep.

Darvish's countryman, Suzuki, went 3 for 5 to raise his average to .409 for Seattle. He hit .187 against Texas last season, one reason the Rangers won the final five meetings with the Mariners - a streak they extended to six Monday.

Seattle will give the ball to Blake Beavan, acquired from the Rangers in the Cliff Lee deal two years ago. He went 1-1 with a 1.84 ERA in two starts against Texas last season, both at Safeco Field.

Beavan went 5-6 with a 4.27 ERA in 15 starts overall as a rookie in 2011. The right-hander, who was born in nearby Irving, will pitch in his native area for the first time as a major leaguer.

"I'll have a lot of people there," Beavan told the Mariners' official website. "I can't wait to actually pitch in Arlington for the first time. I'll just try to keep the ball to left. Left field plays pretty good. Right field is a different story."