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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.

Video: Pete Alonso hits home run no. 50

Pete Alonso
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Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.

It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.

Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.