Hand pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts against the Nationals on Saturday en route to his 11th save of the season. He retired the side in order on 13 pitches, preserving the win for starter Travis Wood. Hand has distanced himself from his recent three-run hiccup, and that outing was an aberration anyway -- he has been scored upon just that one time in his last 26 appearances.
Hand worked around a hit to earn his 10th save with a scoreless ninth inning Monday against Philadelphia. Hand has now struck out at least one batter in 18 straight appearances. He has 30 strikeouts in 19 innings over that stretch with a 1.42 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. Hand has more than earned the closer's job in San Diego, and he is now a solid 8-of-9 in the role.
Hand converted a four-out save, his ninth, and struck out three in Friday's win over the Dodgers. Hand bounced back strongly from Wednesday's blown save against the Reds, his first since assuming the closer's role in late July. Despite that three-run disaster, Hand owns a 2.23 ERA. Now at 8-for-9 in save opportunities since taking the job, Hand is making a strong case to become San Diego's closer of the future.
Hand gave up three runs on a pair of home runs and a walk in two-thirds of an inning against the Reds on Thursday. Called upon to replace Kirby Yates in the seventh inning with the Padres clinging to a one-run lead, Hand walked Joey Votto and then allowed a grand slam to Scooter Gennett. With that, Hand's nearly two-month long scoreless streak was snapped, and he promptly gave up another long ball to Eugenio Suarez. Hand has been excellent throughout most of the year and it's clear he's the preferred ninth-inning option, but manager Andy Green seems comfortable using Hand earlier in the game if he feels the situation warrants it.
Hand pitched a perfect inning while striking out one to earn his eighth save Saturday against the Pirates. Hand was protecting a three-run lead and needed just 12 pitches to shut down the Pirates. Since moving to the closer role on July 23, he's converted each of his five save opportunities, and on the season he owns a 1.93 ERA to go along with a 0.93 WHIP.
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