Frieri will share closer's role in Angels bullpen
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ernesto Frieri is still the Angels' closer, but he's likely to share that role the remainder of the season following two bad outings.
Manager Mike Scioscia said he'll return to a practice he employed earlier this season, going with a pitcher who best matches up with an opposing hitter to close out a game.
Frieri, who has 19 saves in 22 chances, has been rocked in each of his past two outings, losing two games in the past six days that hurt the Angels in their chase for an American League wild card.
As a result, Scioscia said he's likely to call on left-hander Scott Downs or right-hander Kevin Jepsen in the ninth inning to preserve a win or keep a game tied. Scioscia used Downs and Frieri as his late-inning relievers before Frieri took over the role exclusively.
"As we're moving forward, and we have Downs and Jepsen and Ernie, we might match up more to take a little pressure off of a guy whose confidence isn't quite where it should be," Scioscia said of Frieri. "But we need him in the back end in some capacity, no doubt."
Frieri, who was acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres on May 3, didn't allow a run in his first 26 appearances with the Angels. But he's given up four runs in his last two appearances, blowing a 2-0 lead in Kansas City and failing to hold a 1-1 tie with the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
"His last couple of outings have been not as crisp, but the back end of the bullpen is fragile," Scioscia said. "He's certainly going to get the ball in situations that are going to be important to us, whether he's throwing the last out or whether he's throwing the first out in the ninth or the last out in the eighth, whatever it might be. We'll see how things evolve."