There are saves and blown saves for closers and holds for setup men, but there is no formal measure for the performance of those less-heralded relievers who enter with their team trailing by a few runs and hold the score, giving their offense a chance to come back.
There should be.
Managers often talk of the importance of holding late-inning leads and building a bridge between the starter and closer, but as the
"It's huge," Angels setup man
Example: Last Aug. 11 in
But Cleveland relievers
The flip side: The Angels trailed Seattle, 4-3, in the March 31 season opener when
"To hold a deficit there would have been huge," Jepsen said. "Down by a run in the ninth, with our lineup, it's not asking that much to score one run."
The next night,
Within a span of three pitches in the sixth inning April 2,
The right-hander entered with a 4-3 deficit in the seventh inning Tuesday night and gave up a solo homer to Seattle's
But through nine games, the bullpen has been roughed up for 15 earned runs and seven homers in 24 1/3 innings for a 5.55 earned-run average, prompting the question: Would Scioscia consider using Smith, his primary setup man, to hold a deficit?
"You want to manage these guys so the group you want in tie games or holding leads is always available," Scioscia said. "To use your better arms to hold deficits, it's got to be if they haven't pitched in a while. As we establish depth, some real good arms could be used to hold deficits."
The bullpen stabilized after a season-opening sweep at the hands of the
De La Rosa will push Salas, Kohn or Jepsen into what some might consider a lesser role, "but you have to have bullpen guys you can trust to keep games close when it matters," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said.
"That's where guys emerge from. It's a place where you can really springboard your way to more of a leverage role."
Just ask Angels closer
Frieri had a 3.15 ERA and 60 saves in his first two seasons with the Angels and parlayed that performance into a $3.8-million contract this season.
"My mentality was to go out there and keep the same score, do not allow any more runs, and hope our guys score one or two runs," Frieri said. "Whenever I did my job and we won, I would feel so good."
The Angels were off Thursday. They open a three-game series against the Mets on Friday at 7 p.m. at