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Angels closer Hansel Robles is alarmingly ineffective, and Joe Maddon is concerned

Angels closer Hansel Robles delivers a pitch.
Angels closer Hansel Robles has been ineffective this season after establishing himself in 2019.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Angels manager Joe Maddon said closer Hansel Robles would not be available Sunday after pitching in two of the previous three games, including Saturday night’s blown save when he allowed a solo homer to Josh Reddick and a two-run shot to George Springer in the ninth inning of a 5-4, 10-inning Angels win over the Houston Astros.

But Maddon would not say whether Robles, who has allowed nine earned runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings of four games this season for a 22.09 ERA, had lost his ninth-inning role.

“If, in fact, I wanted to do something like that,” Maddon said in a pregame videoconference call, “I would not tell you guys first.”

Robles, claimed off waivers from the New York Mets in June 2018, had a breakout season in 2019, going 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 23 saves in 71 games, striking out 75 and walking 16 in 72 2/3 innings.

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With the coronavirus playing havoc with MLB, Michael Hermosillo’s sacrifice fly wins it for the Angels in the 10th after Hansel Robles blows a save.

But the velocity of the right-hander’s fastball according to Fangraphs has slipped from 97.1 mph last season to 94.4 mph. Robles is also throwing his changeup more (36.1% of the time this season, compared to 22.4% in 2019) and his slider less (10.8% this season, 21.1% in 2019).

“He’s just off,” Maddon said of Robles. “You’ve all noticed there’s been a decline in velocity. We have to figure that out. On top of that, it’s a confidence issue too. You’ve got to pay attention to all of that. Mickey [Callaway, pitching coach] is on it. He saw some things and has some ideas, and we’ll see how it plays out.”


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