Ernesto Frieri was absurdly good for the Angels after they acquired him from the Padres on May 3, allowing zero runs in his first 26 appearances while some people asked things like “how can someone with a 0.00 ERA not make the All-Star team?!”
In those first 26 shutout appearances for the Angels he had a ridiculous .096 opponents’ batting average and 45 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.
Since then Frieri has made 23 appearances with a still-great .206 opponents’ batting average and 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings, but his ERA is an ugly 5.79 because he’s served up seven homers in 21.2 innings.
That includes a pair of homers to blow the save and take the loss Sunday and a two-run homer to Adrian Beltre to take the loss last night. The latter bomb came after Zack Greinke tossed eight innings of one-run ball and all but killed the Angels’ playoff chances.
Frieri’s great strikeout rate and low batting average against show that he’s still been dominant much of the time, but as one of baseball’s most extreme fly-ball pitchers he’s always going to be susceptible to serving up homers in bunches and unfortunately for the Angels those bunches are coming at the worst possible time.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.