Givens struck out one batter in 1.1 perfect innings of work Sunday, earning his second save of the season in the 9-6 win over Texas.
It was Givens' first save since the trade deadline when Baltimore traded several members of the team's bullpen, including Brad Brach and Zach Britton. For now, it seems that Givens will take over the closing duties for the Orioles and Sunday was certainly a positive sign moving forward.
Givens appears to be the leading candidate to serve as Baltimore's closer after Brad Brach was traded to the Braves on Sunday in exchange for international signing bonus slot money.
Brach reclaimed the ninth-inning throne shortly after Zach Britton was dealt to the Yankees on Thursday before following Britton out the door just days later. The Orioles could swing additional deals before Tuesday's non-waiver deadline that might alter the complexion of the bullpen, but as someone under club control through 2021, Givens seems likely to stay put. While he has just one career save to his name, Givens has proved his meddle as a seventh- or eighth-inning setup man since breaking into the big leagues in 2015, posting a 3.14 ERA and 10.7 K/9 over 203 career appearances.
Givens picked up his first save of the season Saturday against the Rays, allowing one hit while striking out one batter across 1.2 innings.
Givens needed just 20 pitches -- 15 of which were strikes -- to record the last five outs of the game en route to his first career major-league save. Brad Brach recorded a four-out save Friday, so it's possible manager Buck Showalter turned to Givens to afford Brach a breather. Either way, despite his solid 3.32 ERA and 28:9 K:BB through 21.2 innings this season, he doesn't figure to see many save opportunities moving forward with Brach pitching well and Zach Britton (Achilles) and Darren O'Day (elbow) both hoping to return before the end of the month.
Givens has notched three strikeouts without allowing a run in 2.1 frames this season.
The Orioles entered the year with a committee approach in the ninth inning, but have not had a lead to protect since Brad Brach coughed up the lead on Opening Day. As Givens is seen as a long-term piece in Baltimore, was mentioned by manager Buck Showalter as an option for saves, and has pitched well this season, he is a worthwhile flyer for those looking for saves on the waiver wire.
Givens will split save opportunities with Brad Brach and Darren O'Day, Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun reports.
Brach was assumed to hold the closing role until Zach Britton returns, as he was the one called upon last year when Britton was out. It now appears that the team will go with a committee approach. Whether that lasts or a clear winner emerges remains to be seen, but even if Givens were to claim the job early in the season, he'd likely only hold it for two months until Britton returns. All three members of the committee are statistically very similar, making a winner hard to predict. Givens had the best ERA of the trio last season (2.75) though his FIP was the highest by a hair (3.72). He's also the youngest at 27 years old, so he's theoretically the most likely to take his game to the next level this season. He's worth a flyer at his price in case he wins the job, though he may only end up providing ratio help with just a small handful of saves.
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