Shaw worked two perfect innings Wednesday while striking out three to record his third save of the season in a 6-5 win over the Angels. Cody Allen and Andrew Miller had both pitched the night before, so manager Terry Francona elected to let Shaw finish the job after he squelched a potential Angels rally in the eighth inning, leaving the tying run stranded at first base. The righty's now thrown 50 pitches over the last two games, so expect him to get a few days off before he's summoned from the bullpen again.
Shaw pitched the eighth inning Wednesday, allowing a hit and striking out one Tiger en route to his 22nd hold of the season. The setup man seemed well on his way to a career-worst campaign when August opened, but Shaw has turned things around over the past month and a half. Through his last 19 appearances (18.2 innings), the 29-year-old owns a 2.41 ERA and 24:3 BB:K while converting all 10 of his hold opportunities.
Shaw, who is having one of his worst seasons in years, has been plagued by a major-drop off in the effectiveness of his slider, SB Nation reports. Now in his seventh MLB season, Shaw owns a career-high 3.51 ERA and is on pace to notch fewer than 20 holds for the first time since 2013. Last year, the setup man owned a career-best 25.1 percent strikeout rate in large part because he induced swinging strikes on 20.6 percent of his sliders. This year, that number is down to 10.8 percent. Shaw's slider is missing the late break that made the pitch so effective in recent campaigns, and without that good movement, he's simply not as useful as he once was in deep formats.
Manager Terry Francona said the acquisition of Joe Smith will allow the skipper to take away some outings from Shaw in hopes of keeping the latter fresh, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Francona may be happy to lighten the load on Shaw, who's on pace to log a career high for innings pitched, but the news certainly isn't great for fantasy owners. The 29-year-old's high-leverage role has him in line to approach 20 holds while nabbing a handful of wins this year.
Shaw (3-4) retired a single batter to collect his third win of the season during Saturday's victory over the Blue Jays. Shaw entered the game and retired Kevin Pillar in the top of the 10th inning, and then Francisco Lindor hit a solo homer in the bottom of the frame to seal the win. With a 2.76 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and a 7.5 K/9, Shaw is a serviceable fantasy asset in deep leagues, but if closer Cody Allen were ever bumped from his job, Andrew Miller would likely be next in line for saves and not Shaw.