Since the July 5 return of Zach Britton from a forearm injury, Brach has managed one save and zero holds over the team's 31 games. Brach scooped up 16 saves -- he had just three in his career before 2017 -- in place of the injured Britton. It was never expected that Brach would resume closing duties into August, but there was no reason to believe he'd become practically irrelevant, either. The 31-year-old managed 38 holds over the past two seasons and is listed as the team's top setup man, so for him to not have a single hold over the team's 16 wins since July 5 is a bit dumbfounding.
Brach worked around a hit and a walk while recording a strikeout in a scoreless inning to record his 16th save of the season in Monday's 3-1 win over the Rangers. Brach put the tying run on base with a two-out walk, but he escaped trouble by getting Drew Robinson to end the game. Interestingly, the right-hander was called upon to close the game out despite the availability of Zach Britton, who now has five outings under his belt since returning from an injury absence. The latter seems likely to reclaim the closer's role at some point, but Monday's events indicate that Brach still holds that designation at the present time.
Brach is expected to settle back into a setup role within the next few days with Zach Britton (forearm) slated to return from the 60-day disabled list Wednesday, Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sun reports. Manager Buck Showalter indicated Tuesday that he would prefer to ease Britton into the relief mix in a low-leverage situation during Wednesday's game against the Brewers, so Brach could still see another save opportunity or two before he cedes closing duties to Britton for good. Once Brach is locked back into the Orioles' setup ranks, he'll lose a good deal of fantasy value with save chances no longer in the offing, but his excellent ratios should make him an asset in deeper or AL-only leagues. He's supplied a 2.72 ERA and 0.91 this season and has struck out roughly a batter per inning over his 36 appearances.
Brach allowed one run on one hit and one walk while striking out two over one inning to blow the save Friday against the Rays. Brach was protecting a one-run lead, and he issued a two-out walk before a balk, wild pitch and a single led to him blowing the save. Despite the hiccup, he's been an outstanding fantasy option with Zach Britton (forearm) on the disabled list, and until Britton is able to prove he's ready to resume his closer role, Brach will continue to be a great help to fantasy owners.
Brach pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his 15th save of the season during Thursday's win over Toronto. Brach is an appearance removed from pitching 13.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run, so it was encouraging to see him hold Toronto off the scoreboard Thursday. Allowing a solo home run to Troy Tulowitzki in the ninth inning of Tuesday's win over Toronto has been the only blemish on the reliever's game log since May 19. Zach Britton's (forearm) return looms over Brach's fantasy value, but Brach could remain a relevant asset even with Britton back in the mix, so it's still too early to make any hasty roster moves.
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