On Saturday afternoon, just a day after saying he would “monitor” the closer situation, manager Bob Melvin called on Sean Doolittle not Grant Balfour to lock down the ninth inning.
The manager was resting his usual closer simply because Balfour had thrown 35 pitches on Friday night. Although before that outing he hadn’t thrown in three days. On Sunday, before the Oakland A’s 2-1 win over the Houston Astros, Melvin confirmed that Balfour was absolutely still the unquestioned closer.
“I mean, he’s got two blown saves. How many big league closers can say that?”
The 35-year-old right-hander has allowed runs in four of his last six outings, and while he he managed to secure four of five saves in the process, Balfour has not looked like the same pitcher who reeled off 44 straight saves. There’s a difference between Balfour making things interesting, and simply not looking good. For the Australian closer as of late, it’s been far closer to the latter.
“Granted his stuff may not have been a...