Maurer (2-2) failed to get an out while being tagged with the loss Thursday after allowing a run on two hits and a walk in the bottom of the 10th inning vs. the Indians. Maurer became the 22nd straight victim of the Indians' historic winning streak with a terrible effort Thursday. Since being acquired from the Padres in July, the former closer has been nothing short of terrible. In 23 appearances for Kansas City, Maurer owns an 8.34 ERA and a 2.29 WHIP through 18.1 innings.
Maurer worked around a walk to log a scoreless inning Saturday for his second save with the Royals. Despite allowing a two-out free pass, the right-hander retied the other three batters, wrapping up his first chance since the Royals demoted Kelvin Herrera and declared a committee closer arrangement. While he'll likely split with lefties Mike Minor (who earned the win Saturday with 1.2 scoreless innings as the only bridge after starter Jake Junis) and Scott Alexander, Maurer appears to be the majority choice and the most logical fantasy pickup, considering he posted 20 saves for San Diego earlier this season and 13 in 2016.
Maurer will get an opportunity to earn saves in the closer's role with Mike Minor and Scott Alexander following Kelvin Herrera's removal from the ninth-inning perch, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. Maurer delivered in his first save opportunity as the Royals' closer during Sunday's victory against the Twins. That chance came along due to the fact that Herrera was dealing with a forearm strain, but now it appears as though the ninth-inning role in wide open as the club makes a push for a wild-card spot. Even though Minor and Alexander will also get their opportunities, and have been much better this season, they have only combined to notch three combined saves all year, which could give Maurer the upper hand moving forward.
Maurer pitched a scoreless ninth inning to collect his 21st save of the season -- his first as a Royal -- during Sunday's win over Minnesota. With Kelvin Herrera nursing a forearm strain, Maurer stepped into ninth-inning duty and closed out the Twins on Sunday. Maurer entered the game with a 6.14 ERA and 1.91 WHIP through 14.2 innings since joining the Royals, so it was a little surprising to see him jump in as the interim closer. Additionally, those poor numbers hurt his fantasy upside. However, saves are extremely valuable in September, so Maurer's a potential grab for teams looking for help in the category.
Maurer is combating his recent struggles by making an adjustment to the positioning of his feet on the rubber, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports. Maurer came over from San Diego with a habit of toeing the rubber from the extreme first-base side. He's surrendered nine earned runs in 11.2 innings through 13 appearances with the Royals, prompting pitching coach Dave Eiland to suggest a move to the opposite side of the mound. "It's a somewhat simple adjustment," manager Ned Yost said. "But for pitchers, it's not." The Royals hope the move will create more deception in his delivery and help hide the ball from hitters. Maurer said this week that he has become comfortable with the change.
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