Frank Francisco, Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, and Jason Frasor are all candidates to close in Toronto, but new manager John Farrell told Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Star that he’ll settle on one guy rather than go by a committee approach because “it not only serves that individual but it serves the rest of the bullpen well that they know what their role is once the season starts.”
Fidlin writes that Farrell “pointed a finger at Francisco” when told “he had to make a bet on which of the candidates will eventually get the job.”
Acquired from Texas in the Mike Napoli swap last month, Francisco lost the Rangers’ closer job to Neftali Feliz early last season. After the demotion he posted a 2.84 ERA, .220 opponents’ batting average, and 57/16 K/BB ratio in 51 innings and also had a 3.43 ERA, .206 opponents’ batting average, and 140/41 K/BB ratio in 113 innings during the previous two seasons.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.