Los Angeles Angels sticking with Ernesto Frieri at closer

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The back of the Los Angeles Angels bullpen continues to be a challenge. They will stick with the same guy at closer for now, but as it has been all season, it will be subject to change.

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For now, the Angels will stick with Ernesto Frieri in that role, even with a rough outing this past weekend. According to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register:

"Manager Mike Scioscia, who watched Frieri’s performance on television Saturday because he was attending Bob Welch’s funeral, said he is not ready to make any changes with the ninth inning.The plan, as it has been for most of the past month, is to use Frieri primarily in the ninth, with an occasional spot for Joe Smith."

The Angels are taking the long view with Frieri, presuming that the 11.57 K/9 mark that he has posted along with his recent success are indications that he can find success closing out games.

They won’t ignore his 5.46 ERA, however, and will likely still explore upgrades in that role. Might they be a potential trade partner for a closer if they are still contenders come next month’s deadline? Is there any chance they would be the team to take on the albatross that is Jonathan Papelbon‘s contract? Just a thought.

Then again, the closer’s role is a fickle beast and almost impossible to predict. Frieri saved 37 games last year and he could just be one hot streak away from settling back into the role nicely. That will be the balancing act that the Angels will have to consider as they send Frieri out for save opportunities in the coming weeks.