Hirano retired only two of the six batters he faced in Monday's 7-4 loss to the Dodgers and was charged with three earned runs on two hits and two walks. He also threw a pair of wild pitches.
Hirano appeared to unseat Brad Boxberger as the Diamondbacks' closer after going 2-for-3 in save chances between Sept. 11 and 14, but he hasn't had any additional opportunities to build up job security. Monday's loss was the Diamondbacks' eighth in the last nine games, resulting in Hirano making only two appearances over that span. While he was roughed up during his 27-pitch outing, Hirano entered the contest with the Diamondbacks already trailing 4-3, so it shouldn't affect his status as the leading candidate for saves over the final week of the regular season.
Hirano was able to pick up his second save of the season in Friday's 4-2 win over the Astros. He allowed a single and a walk in a scoreless inning of work.
After blowing a save Wednesday, Hirano was given another chance to handle the ninth inning and he managed to keep the Astros off the board. It appears that he may have a grip on the closer duties in Arizona for now, but the situation is still worth watching. Hirano has a 2.12 ERA with 55 strikeouts over 63.2 innings so far in 2018.
Hirano (4-3) blew the save and took the loss Wednesday, allowing two runs on two hits while recording one out against the Rockies.
Hirano was called upon for a save opportunity for a second consecutive night, but he allowed a leadoff single and then a walkoff home run to take the defeat. Given that the 34-year-old got the nod both Tuesday and Wednesday it appears he is manager Torey Lovullo's preferred option to handle ninth inning duties, but this outing won't help his case going forward.
Hirano collected the save Tuesday, firing a perfect inning with two strikeouts in a win over the Rockies.
With Brad Boxberger relieved of his closing duties, manager Torey Lovullo indicated he'd manage the ninth inning on a matchup basis and it was Hirano who earned his first save. Jake Diekman was called upon to start the ninth inning, but after allowing a pair of runners to reach, Hirano came on to shut the door without allowing either inherited runner to score. The 34-year-old has a stellar 1.88 ERA and has gone 11 straight outings without allowing an earned run, so while Lovullo may not use a traditional closer down the stretch, Hirano looks like the top option.
Hirano could see usage in save situations after Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo announced Monday that Brad Boxberger would be removed from the closer's role, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports. "It's going to be done by matchup and trying to get through the situation the best that we can based on the hitters that are coming up and based on who's available in the bullpen," Lovullo said of the team's closing picture. "We've got to get there first, and once we get there you're probably going to see a variety of guys finishing the game for us."
While Lovullo avoided naming any candidates to replace Boxberger at the back end of the bullpen, Hirano seems to have the best case for filling the vacancy. Though Archie Bradley has primarily acted as the club's top setup option this season and trails only Boxberger with three saves, he hasn't been dependable in the second half with a 8.20 ERA, 1.66 WHIP and 3.9 BB/9 across 21 appearances. Hirano, meanwhile, has prior closing experience from his days in Japan and has been a steady performer throughout his rookie campaign, submitting a 1.91 ERA and avoiding the home-run issues that have more frequently plagued Bradley and Boxberger. The 34-year-old thus looks like Arizona's most reliable choice against lineups that skew right-handed heavy, with southpaw Andrew Chafin perhaps seeing more ninth-inning work versus lefties if Lovullo sticks to the matchups-based plan he teased.
|9/30/2018 vs San Diego|
|vs San Diego||8.1||1||0||0.00||1||1||6|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 14 || 15 || 16 || 17 || 18 || 19 || 20
| 21 || 22 || 23 || 24 || 25 || 26 || 27
|More Pitching Stats|