It has been a rough 2014 season for Ernesto Frieri, but it finally appears that he may have found his groove on the mound.
Over his last six appearances prior to Tuesday night, he had not allowed a run with 10 strikeouts, three saves, and one hold over that span. This includes three hitless outings and at least one strikeout each game he pitched, which has subsequently lowered his ERA from 6.28 to 4.22.
This is a stark contrast from a little over a month ago when he blew a three-run lead against the Washington Nationals and gave up four runs in a 5-4 loss on April 23 that ballooned his ERA to 9.35. The following day, he was removed from his role as the Los Angeles Angels‘ closer.
Frieri has drastically lowered his ERA and has continued to show improvement in his command, as he has just one walk in 10.2 innings pitched in May. Outside of an extra inning 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees on May 6, Frieri has been an effective pitcher on the mound. The five-year veteran’s improved play will be important for the Halos moving forward as he will need to to be a reliable pitching option in late-game situations, be it in a save or hold opportunity.
It is vital for the team’s playoff chances that Frieri pitches well in close games, as it could be the difference between remaining competitive in the AL West or falling out of contention.
The Angels have been able to stay within range of the division-leading Oakland Athletics as they are just 1.5 games behind due to their improved overall pitching. With that said, Frieri will have to be a reliable closer for the his team to make their postseason hopes a reality come October.