Rays closer Fernando Rodney, who saved 48 games last year while posting a 0.60 ERA, has had a lot of issues to start 2013. With the Rays up 3-1 in the ninth inning, Rodney served up an RBI double to Brennan Boesch and an RBI single to Brett Gardner to tie the game at three-all, the right-hander’s fifth blown save of the season in 14 attempts. His ERA now stands at 6.05.
Maddon yesterday reiterated that Rodney was his closer and “there was not even a discussion about it”, tweeted Mark Topkin.
The Rays entered the day with the second-worst bullpen ERA at 4.90, barely ahead of the Astros at 4.99. If the Rays do wind up making a change, Joel Peralta — the only reliable arm in the bullpen for the Rays thus far — would likely assume the closer’s role as he has a 1.99 ERA.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.