Jim Henderson has pitched really well since taking over the closer role from John Axford in Milwaukee, but he could be headed for an extended absence.
Henderson strained his right hamstring in the ninth inning last night while attempting to finish off the Brewers’ victory against the Pirates. He appeared to suffer the injury as he attempted to field a comebacker off the bat of Russell Martin, but Henderson told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he tweaked his hamstring when he pushed off the mound to make the pitch.
Henderson tried to stay in the game initially, but was pulled after he showed obvious discomfort on a warm-up throw. Francisco Rodriguez took over from there and needed just two pitches for his first save of the season and the 295th of his career.
If Henderson requires a trip to the disabled list, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said that he will likely employ a closer-by-committee in his absence. Rodriguez, Axford and even Mike Gonzalez could all be in the mix for save chances.
Henderson, 30, owns an 0.82 ERA and 23/5 K/BB ratio over 19 2/3 innings this season. He is a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities.
As we moved to the top of the eighth inning things started to loosen up. Which was good for the American League but not for the Senior Circuit.
Josh Hader of the Brewers was pitching and, in very un-2018-style, the American League strung together a couple of hits, with Shin-Soo Choo and George Springer singling. At that point Jen Segura of the Mariners came to the plate while Joe Buck spoke to National League outfielder Charlie Blackmon on the mic. Blackmon was entertaining until Joey Votto failed to corral a would-be foul out from Segura, at which point he tensed up a bit. Then Segura launched a massive three-run homer to left. Blackmon called Buck “bad luck,” Mitch Moreland singled and Blackmon said that if the next pitch wasn’t a double play ball, he was bailing on the broadcast.
With the Americans leading 5-2, Dave Roberts made a pitching change, bringing in Brad Hand with one out in the inning. Buck bid adieu to Blackmon, for which Blackmon seemed thankful. These mic’d up players are fun, but there’s a limit to how much distraction they’ll endure, even in a meaningless exhibition game.
Hand struck out Michael Brantley and then