Two days after an epic meltdown prevented the Angels from sweeping the Nationals in Washington, Ernesto Frieri has been removed as the Angels closer and replaced with Joe Smith, according to manager Mike Scioscia (Mike DiGiovanna).
Further, Scioscia plans to mix and match in the eighth inning instead of using Frieri in a setup role. He instead plans to use Frieri in lower-leverage situations in order to help him get back on track.
Frieri coughed up four earned runs while recording just one out Wednesday night in Washington. It was his second blown save of the season in just four chances. In all, he's allowed 14 hits, three walks and nine earned runs in 8 2/3 innings, good for a 9.35 ERA and 1.96 WHIP. His strikeout rate is good, as he has 12 (12.5 K/9), but he's allowed five home runs. A change was badly needed.
Smith has four holds in five chances thus far with a 3.60 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He's struck out 11 in 10 innings. He only has three career saves, but sports 120 career holds in 149 chances. He's long been one of the better setup men in the league, so he'll try to transition that into the ninth inning.
Hat-tip: Hardball Talk