HOUSTON -- Neftali Feliz, after three straight saves in Florida, was leafing through a packet of statistics in the Rangers' clubhouse on Friday afternoon. If he paused to check the American League leaders, he would have found his name in a prominent position. Feliz went into Friday's game with the Astros leading the AL with 18 saves. "I'm very happy with that right now," Feliz said. "I just want to continue to do the job and just save as many as I can."
Manager Ron Washington, showing obvious bias, thinks Feliz's work is good enough to earn him a spot on the AL All-Star team. "He's got to be up there ... leading closers in closing down ballgames," Washington said. "They're taking other closers for closing down ballgames, so they've got to take him because he's closing down games for us." Saves are hardly the only criteria, though. Feliz has a 2.97 ERA. That's high compared to Detroit's Jose Valverde (12 saves, 0.64 ERA), Tampa Bay's Rafael Soriano (16 saves, 1.52 ERA), Oakland's Andrew Bailey (12 saves, 1.69 ERA) and the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (15 saves, 1.21 ERA). Among AL relievers, Feliz is eighth with a .183 opponents' batting average, 16th with 9.79 baserunners per nine innings and 13th with 10.09 strikeouts per nine innings. There will be 13 pitchers on the AL All-Star team. Five starters and three relievers will be selected by the players. AL manager Joe Girardi will choose the other five pitchers. "That's something people keep bringing up," Feliz said. "I'm not thinking about it. If it happens, I will be very happy that I'm going to the All-Star Game."