There has been a certain Russian-roulette quality to the Los Angeles Angels' bullpen this season.
On Saturday night, manager Mike Scioscia made what he thought was the right decision, pulling starter Zack Greinke from the game two outs short of a shutout. Closer Ernesto Frieri came in and gave up back-to-back homers as the Kansas City Royals rallied for a stinging, walk-off win.
It was the 22nd blown save of the season for the Angels (the most in the American League and third most in the majors) and the 19th loss charged to an Angels reliever this season.
On Sunday, starter Dan Haren was not nearly as strong as Greinke, and Scioscia went to his bullpen in the sixth inning. This time, every move he made worked out. Five Angels relievers combined to hold the Royals to one hit over the final 3 1/3 innings, making a one-run lead stand up in a 4-3 victory.
"You have to keep putting guys in positions that you think are going to help you win games," Scioscia said Sunday. "Last night was a heavy page to turn, but our guys came back today. In similar situations today, you saw guys come in and do the job. We got a lead and held on."
They did it without Frieri. The closer needed 30 pitches to finish off Friday's win in Kansas City, then had things blow up on him in a hurry Saturday. Scioscia decided Sunday, "We were going to give him a day today, take the day off tomorrow (Monday) and get him back on the horse Tuesday."
Kevin Jepsen pitched the ninth Sunday and earned his second save of the season.