ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Blue Jays have inked reliever J.P. Howell to a one-year deal, pending a physical. Financial details have yet to be revealed.
Howell, 33, had a mediocre 2016 campaign with the Dodgers, finishing with a 4.09 ERA and a 44/15 K/BB ratio over 50 2/3 innings. However, the lefty put up a 1.43 ERA in 2015, a 2.39 ERA in ’14, and 2.03 in ’13, so it’s reasonable to think he could return to that level of pitching. Howell showed a reverse platoon split in 2016 — meaning lefties hit him better than righties — but has historically dominated left-handed hitters. Howell is also quite good at inducing ground balls. Since 2013, Howell’s 58.5 percent ground ball rate is 13th best among relievers (min. 150 innings).
Howell gives the Jays a second lefty in the bullpen along with Aaron Loup.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.
Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.
After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.
Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.
Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.
Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.