Ken Giles increased his strikeout rate from 2015 by nearly two strikeouts per nine innings but ended up with the same number of saves (15), as it took him some time to wrestle the closer job away from Luke Gregerson. As a member of the Phillies in 2015, Giles allowed two homers all season, but that rate quadrupled with the Astros last year although half of his home runs allowed came during his first month in Houston. Giles began the season allowing 20 baserunners, four homers, and 10 earned runs in just 10 April innings. From May on, Giles struck out 88 batters, allowed four home runs, and was the same dominant reliever the club gave up so much to acquire during the offseason. The 4.11 ERA was bad, but the 2.86 FIP shows where things could be if the home run rate settles in between 2015 and 2016. Roster him with confidence.
Giles allowed a hit and struck out a batter during a scoreless ninth inning to record his fifth save of the season during Sunday's win over Tampa Bay. Giles got himself into trouble during a series against the Mariners earlier this season, but he's been excellent otherwise and has now strung together four scoreless appearances with three saves. Houston boasts a potent offensive attack and is currently sporting a 13-6 record, so Giles projects to continue receiving plenty of opportunities to pile up tallies in the saves column.
Giles pitched a perfect ninth inning while striking out two batters to earn his fourth save Friday against the Rays. Giles was called upon to protect a three-run lead, and easily closed out the contest without an ounce of drama. After getting roughed up in three consecutive outings, he's now settled down and held opponents scoreless in each of his last three contests. Assuming he doesn't go into another slump, he should have no problem holding down the closer role for the Astros.
Giles pitched a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Angels. Manager A.J. Hinch has been unconventional with his bullpen this season. This was the second time he's brought his closer out for the eighth inning. Hinch's consistently maintained Giles will close most of the games, but the manager also has pointed out he reserves the right to deploy the back end of the bullpen in a manner he best sees fit for a given game. In Wednesday's game, with the score 3-1 and the Angels' three best hitters due up in the eighth inning, Hinch had Giles warming in the seventh, which at the time appeared to be a high-leverage situation. Ultimately, Josh Reddick's two-run home run in the seventh upped Houston's lead to four runs before Giles entered. But if the Angels were to mount a comeback, it most likely would have started with Yunel Escobar, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. With Giles already loose, Hinch had the fire-balling right-hander quash any potential rally.
Giles pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts for his third save of the year in Monday's 3-0 win over the Angels. Giles is a perfect 3-for-3 in save chances in 2017 despite being hit with a loss already and allowing five runs in six innings of work. The flamethrower's elite strikeout rate (16.5 K/9) and ability to keep the ball in the yard make him a near-elite fantasy fireman. It also helps that he's closing things out for an Astros team that's favored to win the AL West.
Giles entered Saturday's game in the eighth inning, but manager A.J. Hinch said he remains the Astros' closer, Brian McTaggart of the team's official site reports. Hinch had Giles warming up in the seventh inning with Houston down one, intending to have the closer pitch the eighth. The Astros then went on the score four runs in the eighth and Hinch merely stayed with his plan to have Giles pitch the eighth inning.
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