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Bud Black sticking with Greg Holland in closer’s role

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Rockies closer Greg Holland has had a rough go of it lately. He served up a walk-off three-run home run to Eric Hosmer on Wednesday, marking his third blown save in his last four attempts. Prior to Thursday’s game, the right-hander had given up 12 earned runs in his last five appearances, bumping his season ERA from 1.56 to 3.77. Holland gave up some hard contact on Thursday, but protected the Rockies’ 3-2 lead over the Royals.

Despite Holland’s recent struggles, manager Bud Black plans to stick with the veteran in the closer’s role, per MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Black said, “We’ll talk about it, but my initial instinct is to keep Greg where he is. We wouldn’t be where we are without him, and he’s going through a bit of a tough stretch as far as making pitches.”

Black added, “His arm feels good. He still has confidence. We’ve got to get him to the point where he’s locating the slider, locating the fastball and getting that last out or making that last pitch to get the save. That’s been the case the last three times when he’s been one out away, one strike away, and just hasn’t executed that pitch.”

Through his August 4 appearance, Holland was 34-for-35 in save chances with a 53/18 K/BB ratio over 40 1/3 innings. His control over the last few weeks has disappeared and he hasn’t been missing bats at nearly the same frequency, as he has a 4/6 K/BB ratio in his last six innings of work.

If Holland’s struggles continue and Black is forced to make a change, Jake McGee or Pat Neshek would figure to get a shot at save situations.

Tony Clark: among players, the universal DH “is gaining momentum”

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway: enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.