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Astros: The New Closer is Will Harris?

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May 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Will Harris (36) reacts after getting an out during the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Will Harris (36) reacts after getting an out during the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Astros’ Reliever Will Harris Has Two Saves Now.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch stripped Luke Gregerson of the closer role after blowing a save on Saturday against the Oakland Athletics. The following day Will Harris toed the rubber in the ninth and earned his first save of the 2016 season, the third of his career. It was Harris who got the call with the game on the line in the final inning at Globe Life Park on Wednesday.

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The Astros were riding a 12 game losing streak in Arlington and had yet to earn a victory against the Texas Rangers so far this season. Harris came in and slammed the door – like a closer would. Will Harris now has a 0.33 ERA and 0.72 WHIP, both bests among non-closer who have appeared in at least 27 games? Of those with at least 20 appearances, only one reliever in baseball, the San Diego Padre’s closer Fernando Rodney‘s, has a better ERA (0.00 ERA in 21 and 1/3rd innings). Rodney has given up as many runs as Harris, one, but it was unearned.

When asked about it after the game, Hinch replied: “It didn’t matter what spot I put him in, whether it was the bases-loaded seventh-inning spot or an eighth-inning role. Now his last two appearances in the ninth innings have been pretty impressive. It’s a comforting feeling with him on the mound. As calm as he is, he’s in control of his stuff, and certainly the stuff he throws to the hitter is pretty electric.”

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The competition for the ninth-inning role hasn’t been deemed “closed” yet, but how can you take it away from Harris who hasn’t allowed a run since opening day? Astros fans, say hello to your new closer, Will Harris.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference and MLB.com***

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