Jason Grilli was thrust into the closer role to begin the year with Roberto Osuna injured, but Osuna returned after missing the minimum amount of time required by his DL stint and Grilli then proceeded to pitch his way out of Toronto. He lost manager John Gibbons' trust a month into the campaign as opponents clobbered Grilli to the tune of a 3.92 HR/9. The Blue Jays ultimately designated Grilli for assignment and flipped him to Texas for cash considerations. He cut down on the homers after the move and continued to miss bats at a good clip, leading to a 4.14 FIP with the Rangers. That number suggest Grilli can still be a serviceable bullpen arm if he chooses to return for another season at age 41, but his days of seeing save chances are almost certainly behind him.
Grilli retired three of the four batters he faced in Tuesday's 12-2 win over the Astros, working around a double to turn in a scoreless ninth inning. Grilli has turned in three scoreless outings in a row, but don't expect him to gain much traction in higher-leverage situations in the near future with his ERA still sitting at 5.65 for the season. The fact that the 40-year-old was used in the ninth inning of a 10-run game speaks to his low standing in the bullpen pecking order.
Grilli pitched the seventh inning in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Mets, surrendering one run on one hit and one walk and striking out two. Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI double off Grilli gave the Mets a 5-3 lead at the time, which would prove to be the decisive run after the Rangers' Robinson Chirinos made things interesting in the ninth inning with a solo blast. While the loss doesn't fall on Grilli's shoulders, he has yet to establish himself as a reliable option in the late innings for Texas since coming over in an early-July trade with the Blue Jays. In his 10 appearances with the club, he's allowed six runs (five earned) and has walked six batters over 10 frames.
Grilli recorded just one out during his relief appearance in Wednesday's 22-10 loss to the Marlins and was charged with four runs on two hits and two walks. Grilli was roughed up more than any of the other five relievers the Rangers used on the night, but his ugly appearance will likely fly under the radar after starter Yu Darvish was lit up for a career-high 10 runs in what could have been his final outing as a member of the Rangers. Prior to the disastrous showing, Grilli hadn't allowed an earned run in his 10 appearances with Texas, so manager Jeff Banister shouldn't have too many reservations about turning back to the veteran reliever in the future.
Grilli (2-5) took the loss Sunday in Kansas City after allowing the winning run on two hits and one walk with one strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. Grilli was acquired from the Blue Jays earlier this month to shore up Texas' disastrous bullpen, but this outing suggests he isn't an upgrade in high-leverage situations. Tasked with pitching the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, Grilli promptly loaded the bases with one out. He gave Rangers fans hope by striking out Jorge Bonifacio, then induced a weak flyball from Lorenzo Cain, only to see right fielder Shin-Soo Choo lose sight of the ball in the sun. Grilli was still charged with an earned run as a result, increasing his ERA to 6.56 on the season.
Grilli tossed a perfect inning in his team debut during Monday's 7-5 loss to the Red Sox in 11 innings. He struck out two batters and induced a flyout. Grilli, who was acquired from the Blue Jays on Sunday, was added to the 25-man roster Monday, replacing Dario Alvarez in the Texas bullpen. The Rangers recently demoted Matt Bush from the closer's role and placed Bush's top potential replacement, Keone Kela (shoulder), on the disabled list Monday, so it wouldn't be surprising if Grilli entered the mix for saves on a short-term basis once he gets a few appearances under his belt.