Hand worked around a hit to throw a scoreless ninth inning against the Tigers on Friday to earn his 13th save of the season. He struck out two. The lefty needed 20 pitches, but he eventually shut the door and preserved the shutout after Zach Plesac and James Karinchak tossed eight scoreless innings. Early on, it looked like Karinchak might seize hold of the closer role, but Hand tightened his grip on the job with a stellar performance and has ended up as one of the better closer picks in fantasy baseball this season.
Hand struck out the side in a perfect ninth inning Monday to record his 12th save of the season in a 5-2 win over the Royals. The southpaw fired 13 of his 15 pitches for strikes in the impressive performance, although his fastball topped out at 92.2 mph. Hand has found a way to be effective despite his reduced velocity -- he has yet to blow a save this season, and he hasn't allowed an earned run since the end of July, giving him a 2.45 ERA and 19:4 K:BB through 14.2 innings.
Hand picked up the save in Sunday's win over Milwaukee, allowing one hit in a scoreless ninth inning. Hand allowed a single to Ryan Braun to begin the ninth, but got Tyrone Taylor to fly out before getting Jacob Nottingham to ground into a game-ending double play. The southpaw has now converted each of his last seven save chances and holds a 2.63 ERA on the campaign.
Hand secured the save by delivering a scoreless 12th inning during Saturday's win over the Cardinals. He didn't record a strikeout or issue a walk. The veteran lefty allowed the designated runner on second base, Yadier Molina, to reach third on a wild pitch, but he was able to end the inning on only three pitches as Molina was caught off third base after mistakenly thinking a groundout was a foul ball. Hand allowed five runs (four earned) through his first three outings of the season, but he's surrendered only three hits and two unearned runs in his past eight appearances. He has a 3.38 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 13:4 K:BB over 10.2 innings while converting all 10 save chances this season.
Hand pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn the save in Wednesday's 6-3 win over the Twins. Hand had a three-run lead to protect, and he did so by retiring Luis Arraez, Miguel Sano and Ehire Adrianza on a combined 12 pitches. The 30-year-old Hand has produced perfect innings in his last three outings. He's lowered his ERA to 3.72 with a 1.03 WHIP, 13 strikeouts and nine saves in 9.2 innings this season. Hand has a strong grasp on the closing job for Cleveland.