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.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”