A baseball broadcaster will usually get a good laugh or end up on some blooper reel when he inadvertently says a reliever is “throwing up in the bullpen,” but Monday night, it was actually true.
As Angels closer Joe Smith warmed to enter in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees, he “got sick and threw up in the bullpen,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He was up and loose, but he ate something that made him sick, so we made a decision not to use him.”
Deposed closer Ernesto Frieri was already throwing during the eighth, so it didn’t take long for him to get loose for the ninth. The right-hander struck out No. 3 batter Jacoby Ellsbury and cleanup hitter Mark Teixeira, both with 95-mph fastballs, and got Brian McCann to fly to right to preserve a 4-1 victory.
“When you’re a late-inning pitcher, you have to be ready mentally,” Frieri said. “Joe was getting ready to go into the game, he was warming up pretty good, and then he said he couldn’t go. It was crazy. No one expected that.”
Since he was demoted from the closer role April 25, Frieri has thrown 4 2/3 hitless innings in five appearances. His fastball has been more lively, and he’s mixing in more sliders and changeups.
“That’s the best stuff we’ve seen from him this year, so hopefully he’s finding it a bit,” Scioscia said of Frieri. “He was electric out there tonight.”