PHOENIX — Right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano has been spectacularly efficient in his first season in Arizona Titans Authentic Jerseys , part of the reason the Diamondbacks will enter their four-game series against the San Diego Padres with the best bullpen ERA in the majors.
Hirano may be a major league rookie, but his work the last five seasons as a closer with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan has translated well.
Hirano, 34, had a franchise-record 26-game scoreless streak broken in an 8-4 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday, when he finished one scoreless appearance short of tying former Red Sox right-hander Koji Uehara for the longest such streak by a Japanese-born pitcher in major league history. Even that loss could not diminish the value Hirano has had this season.
Arizona right-hander Shelby Miller is scheduled to face San Diego left-hander Eric Lauer in the first game of the series Thursday.
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo was Boston’s bench coach when Uehara set the record in 2013, so he can provide a comparison of Uehara and Hirano.
“They have the same work habits, which is pretty impressive,” Lovullo said. “They both come in and get their work done pregame. They come in and get their work done postgame. They find themselves healthy and strong and prepared for every single one of their outings.
“They both have a fearlessness to their game and an approach to understanding what needs to happen during each at-bat. They are not afraid to put the ball on the plate with two different pitches. They go out and expect to get outs. Very similar mind-set. Very similar makeup. Very similar confidence.”
Hirano is 2-0 with a 1.43 ERA in 42 appearances. He has 19 holds, fourth in the majors, and he has permitted only one of his 16 inherited runners to score while being primarily used in the seventh inning. Eighth-inning reliever Archie Bradley leads the majors with 22 holds and closer Brad Boxberger has 20 saves.
Uehara began the 2013 season in a similar setup role in the Boston bullpen before advancing to the closer’s role after injuries thinned the relief corps. He finished with 21 saves, a 1.09 ERA and an 0.57 WHIP.
“As soon as he became the closer, he gave off a certain edge and a certain confidence that was noticeable,” Lovullo said.
“It’s as close to a slam dunk, shut-down ninth-inning save as I’ve ever seen. He had this ability to collect outs and get through innings in 12 pitches or less. It was so quick, the ninth inning was over before it even started. It was a very comfortable setting for all of us. You played the Boston Red Sox in 2013 for eight innings because the ninth inning was over. That’s what I remember.”
Hirano has a 1.01 WHIP, fourth among major league relievers with at least 40 appearances.
“He’s been very versatile,” Lovullo said. “He’s unfazed by any role we have asked him to do. He can pitch in traffic. He can start clean innings. He can get left-handers and right-handers out.”
The Diamondbacks lost two of three to St. Louis and have dropped five of their past six games overall. They took two out of three games in their only other series against the Padres this season, also at Chase Field.
San Diego has slumped over the last 2 1/2 weeks. The Padres have lost three in a row and are 3-13 since beating Atlanta 9-3 behind left-hander Clayton Richard on June 15. They have scored 30 runs in their last 10 games.
“We’re not getting hits with runners in scoring position,” San Diego manager Andy Green told reporters after a two-game sweep in Oakland.
“Sometimes the best thing you can do is relax Redskins Authentic Jerseys , go play baseball and enjoy what you’re doing. Then the hits start coming.”
Christian Villanueva hit his 17th homer for the Padres in a 4-2 loss to the A’s Wednesday.
Miller is 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA in two starts this season after returning from a 14-month absence following Tommy John surgery in last May, 2017. He has given up 15 hits and 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings.
Miller is 2-2 with a 4.54 ERA in eight career appearances, including seven starts, against the Padres. He had a strong outing against them early last season, giving up four hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings in the third of his four starts before suffering the elbow injury.
Rookie Lauer joined the Padres’ rotation in late April and is 3-5 with a 5.08 ERA in 13 starts this season. He was 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA in six June starts and is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA in seven road starts.
He has never faced the Diamondbacks.
Spotting opponents an early lead hasn’t been a problem lately for Anthony Rizzo and the Chicago Cubs.
Rizzo drove in his second run of the game in the seventh inning to snap a tie, Kyle Schwarber followed with a solo homer in the eighth and the Cubs rebounded from an early three-run deficit to edge the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Tuesday for their fifth straight win.
The other team has scored first in each of Chicago’s recent victories, but the Cubs have kept chipping away.
”We know we’re a good team,” Rizzo said. ”We just have to string together good at-bats.”
The Cubs did just that again on Tuesday.
With one out in the seventh, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist singled off Tigers reliever Daniel Stumpf (1-4). Rizzo’s slow bouncer up the middle resulted in a force of Zobrist at second, but Jose Iglesias’ throw to first was too late to double up Rizzo and Heyward scored from third to put Chicago ahead for the first time, 4-3.
Schwarber hit his team-leading 17th homer to right against a steady wind off Lake Michigan in the eighth.
Trailing 3-0, Albert Almora, Jr. and Heyward each drove in a run with a double, then Rizzo followed with an RBI single in Chicago’s three-run fifth.
Rizzo has just one homer in his past 20 games – and 12 this season – after launching at least 31 in each of the past four seasons. But the Cubs slugger says the longball isn’t always the best approach.
”You get down and start battling (at) two strikes, it’s not about hitting a homer,” Rizzo said. ”It’s just about putting the ball in play and we’re doing a good job at that.”
Justin Wilson (3-2), the second of Chicago’s four relievers, pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the win. Pedro Strop pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save in four chances.
The Cubs’ bullpen allowed just one hit after starter Kyle Hendricks labored through five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits in a no-decision. In his past six starts Cardinals Elite Jerseys , the right-hander is 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA.
”They didn’t beat him up by any means today,” manager Joe Maddon said. ”It’s just that it wasn’t a typical surgeon-like procedure from Kyle. He looks good, he’s just not executing.”
Detroit leadoff hitter Mikie Mahtook had three singles and scored a run. Niko Goodrum drove in a run with a double, and Jeimer Candelario and James McCann each had an RBI as the Tigers lost their 12th game in their past 14.
Tigers starter Michael Fulmer went six innings and allowed three runs – all in the fifth – and seven hits.
”He had really good stuff,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”He got a couple of pitches up a bit, but they kind of put them in the right place.
”It wasn’t like they were lashing them, but they put them on the outfield grass, kind of like what we did to them early.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. After Mahtook and Nick Castellanos led off with singles, Candelario drove in a run with a groundout. Goodrum’s double to the right-field corner scored the second run.
The Tigers added a run in the fourth on McCann’s RBI single.
The Cubs tied it 3-all in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Tommy LaStella, Almora and Heyward led off with consecutive doubles to cut it to 3-2, then Rizzo’s hit with one out tied it.
WINDY CITY TIGER
INF/OF Jim Adduci, called up from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday, was in Detroit’s lineup at first base and singled and scored in his first game this season. The 33-year-old attended Evergreen Park High School in Chicago’s south suburbs and grew up a fan of both the Cubs and White Sox. Adduci’s father, also named Jim, played a total of 70 games with three major league teams in the 1980s and was at Wrigley Field on Tuesday.
Cubs: INF/OF Kris Bryant (left shoulder inflammation) probably will return Wednesday or Friday, Maddon said after the game. The Cubs star has been sidelined since June 22. … RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps inflammation, right elbow impingement/inflammation) rejoined the Cubs after seeing Dr. Keith Meister in Texas on Friday and getting a cortisone shot. Maddon said he still hadn’t yet talked to the right-hander about his progress following the injection.
Tigers LHP Francisco Liriano (3-4. 3.99) takes the mound against Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (6-6. 4.31) on Wednesday afternoon in the finale of the two-game interleague set. Liriano has lost both of his starts since coming off the disabled list (right hamstring strain) on June 23. Quintana has two losses and three no-decisions in his past five starts and hasn’t won since May 31.