Do the Astros have a battle for closer?
After his performance in the 2017 playoffs, you can see why Astros fans don’t trust Ken Giles to get a save. It appears that Giles is no longer the primary closer for the World Series Stros. Astros manager A.J. Hinch will not come out and say that Giles is not the closer anymore. However, his actions say otherwise.
The Astros have a 10-4 record early on, but only have three saves on the season. Three relievers have one save each. Every time someone other than Giles gets the save, Hinch has to justify it.
When Giles could have got the save versus the Orioles, it was because Hinch liked the matchups with Brad Peacock on the mound. Also, Peacock had already pitched two dominant innings already. Why fix something that is not broken? The Astros won that game 3-2.
Saves have been scarce for the 2018 Astros so far.
The first save of the season came from Peacock last Sunday versus the Padres. When Peacock entered the game, the Astros had a 4-1 after another stellar start from Charlie Morton. Peacock only needed eight pitches to get the three outs. It was his first regular-season save in his career. We all remember him getting the big save in Game 5 of the World Series last year.
With the way Peacock is pitching, you can see why Hinch has confidence in him. Peacock has a 1.13 ERA in eight innings while striking out 11. He did pitch in the last game in Minnesota after the Astros tied the game, but gave up the big homer to Max Kepler. However, that situation is typically where you use your closer if he hasn’t already appeared in the game.
Giles did get a one-out save during Monday’s win over the Twins behind Justin Verlander. He replaced Devenski with a runner at second base. There was a slight scare as Byron Buxton hit a blast to left field that was called a foul ball. Buxton ended up grounding out, but it was a scary moment.
After dropping two of three in Minnesota, the Astros needed the win last night. When the took the 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, many wondered who would close out the win?
Who got the big save last night?
It was Devenski’s turn to get the save. It wasn’t a 1-2-3 inning like Peacock’s save, but Devenski got away with allowing a single and hitting a batter. Devenski gets all three outs via the strikeout. This lowers his ERA to 1.29 while striking out ten hitters in seven innings. His pitches had tons of movement on them.
The first two hitters for the Rangers were left-handed in the ninth. Devenski was already warmed up, so when they took the lead, Hinch just stuck with the hot hand. Giles will still factor into some of the late game scenarios, but he may not be the primary guy. Who ends up with the most saves on the team? It’s too early to tell, but Hinch has three players who can get the final three outs.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***