Feldman pleased with first outing of season
Right-hander allows just one run in 6 2/3 innings in debut vs. Indians
HOUSTON -- Scott Feldman is just fine, thank you.
Feldman, whose shaky spring had to have at least a few fans worrying about how the veteran right-hander might perform this year, answered the bell Wednesday night by allowing five hits, one run and no walks in 6 2/3 strong innings in a 2-0 loss to the Indians at Minute Maid Park.
"I felt pretty good," Feldman said. "I'll probably take nights like that most nights. I think we come out on top like that. Just going forward, hopefully, I can establish the counts a little better in my favor and get ahead of guys a little more often, first-pitch strikes. I think overall I threw the ball pretty well."
The one mistake Feldman made came in the fourth inning, when he hung a 3-2 breaking pitch over the plate for Indians first baseman Carlos Santana, who lofted a ball into the right-field seats for a solo homer.
"Really one pitch, an early recognized breaking ball to Santana, was the only misfire," manager A.J. Hinch said. "It was a really good outing by him. He had plenty left in the tank and was in complete control and missing bats and getting the ball on the ground. Just did a really, really good job of executing pitches."
Feldman didn't think the ball hit by Santana was going to leave the ballpark. It traveled only 344 feet.
"I thought he hit it off the end of the bat," Feldman said. "I know he's a strong guy. I saw the wind blowing in and I was like, 'Man, that's a deep fly ball.' But it just kept sailing. I think he got some good backspin on it. But on 3-2, I'd probably throw that pitch again and try to not hang it as much."
Feldman scuffled all spring, posting a 6.87 ERA in 18 1/3 innings in Florida, but his performance against the Indians was more indicative of how he finished last regular season than what he did in the Grapefruit League. Wednesday marked his career-best eighth consecutive quality start dating to Aug. 20, 2014, during which he has a 1.87 ERA.
"Not to say Spring Training has no meaning, but I think really unless you're trying to make the team, you want to set yourself up to have a healthy season," he said. "I feel like I did that. My body feels good, my arm feels good, so once the real games start, I felt pretty confident I was going to be alright."
Hinch insists he wasn't worried about Feldman.
"Guys that have been around as long as he has can put bad springs behind them," he said. "I didn't really give two thoughts about how he would enter the season. He was built up and strong enough and just trusted the fact he was going to do his job."