The Astros have made Brett Myers their new closer

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This is unexpected: the Houston Astros have moved Brett Myers out of the rotation and have made him their new closer. Announced it this morning.

This is not an unprecedented role for Myers. He was the Phillies closer for most of the 2007 season, moving back to the rotation after they picked up Brad Lidge.  As a closer he went 5-5 with 21 saves and a 2.87 ERA.  That season he struck out 10.9 batters per nine innings, so it seems that he was cool with pressing down on the accelerator in a new role.  Of course, overall his K-rate is way down now from where it was when he was a starter before the last conversion, so it would be tough to expect that kind of thing again. What a drag it is gettin’ old, you know.

The stated rationale here is that with Brandon Lyon trying to come back from shoulder surgery (good luck with that) and no other experienced hands on deck, Myers’ experience makes him the best option.  A secondary rationale, likely considered but not stated, is that if Myers can save a handful of games in the first half, Houston could flip him to a contender with a closer crisis.

I have no idea if it will work, but it’s just another example of the Jeff Luhnow and Brad Mills’ creative thinking with the new-look Houston Astros.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.