Mike Scioscia has gone back and forth between Joe Smith and Ernesto Frieri as closer this year — and had a fun little detour experimenting with Cam Bedrosian once last week — but now he’s back on Smith:
Makes sense as Smith has been better than Frieri. Still, it does sound like Scioscia is determined to give Frieri every opportunity — maybe too many opportunities — to get back to the closer’s role.
A lot of the times I’m sorta “meh” on who’s closing, but the Angels look like a playoff team at the moment — they lead the Wild Card race in the AL and are only four games back of the best team in baseball for the division lead — so ironing out the bullpen is going to be pretty important for them. It’s nice that they have a couple games cushion at the moment with which to do it.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia gave Ernesto Frieri a vote of confidence over the weekend, but he made it clear today that he’s looking at other options to close games.
After Albert Pujols delivered a two-run double in the top of the 10th inning against the Indians this afternoon, most expected that Frieri would come out for the bottom half of the inning, especially since Joe Smith already pitched the ninth inning. However, Scioscia threw everyone for a loop by turning to rookie Cam Bedrosian. The decision quickly backfired, as Bedrosian walked two and gave up a double before Frieri was brought in to put out the fire. Frieri got David Murphy to fly out for the second out of the inning, but he then gave up a walk-off grand slam to Nick Swisher. Disaster complete.
After the game, Scioscia told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that he has no set closer and wanted to give Bedrosian an opportunity against a team who had never seen him before.
“I don’t think it’s any different from what we talked about,” Scioscia said when asked if Frieri is his closer. “What’s different from matching up like we talked about?”
It was a questionable decision for many reasons, most notably that Bedrosian has been far from lights out since coming up to the majors. And if Scioscia didn’t have faith in Frieri to start the inning, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher why he turned to him once Bedrosian got into trouble. Talk about your mixed messages. There’s no excuse for Frieri giving up the grand slam, as he still has to execute, but the margin for error was razor thin and Scioscia essentially set him up to fail. The Angels own the fifth-best record in the American League right now, but the back-end of their bullpen is a mess.
The Indians and Angels took a 1-1 tie into the tenth inning and Albert Pujols did what he was supposed to to: with two men on and two out, he hit an RBI single to right, scoring two and putting the Angels up 3-1. To the bottom of the 10th we go.
For reasons that — until the postgame interviews anyway — are known only to Mike Scioscia and God, Scioscia put Cam Bedrosian in for the save. The same Cam Bedrosian who has allowed six runs on seven hits in five and a third innings while walking five so far this year. Sure, it’s hard to have faith in Ernesto Frieri these days, but how is he a worse option than Bedrosian?
Anyway, here’s what Bedrosian does: walks a guy, strikes out a guy, gives up a double and walks a guy. Scioscia has seen enough and calls in Frieri. Now with no margin for error. Frieri gets David Murphy to fly out to left and then Nick Swisher comes to the plate. And he did this:
Maybe Cam Bedrosian is the future of the Angels bullpen. And, of course, he’s not the one who gave up the slam to Nick Swisher. But why you throw him in the game in that situation to leave that kind of mess for the next guy given how poor he’s been lately is beyond me.