PHOENIX — Right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano has been spectacularly efficient in his first season in Arizona Authentic Baker Mayfield Jersey
, 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 http://www.officialcoyotes.com/authentic...layton-keller-jersey
, 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, 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.
So many times this season, New England’s defense made plays when it had to give Tom Brady and the Patriots offense a chance to win.
But with the man responsible for the biggest defensive plays in Patriots’ Super Bowl history watching from the bench, it couldn’t figure out the Philadelphia Eagles in a 41-33 loss Super Bowl loss on Sunday.
Malcolm Butler, whose interception in the end zone sealed New England’s Super win over Seattle in the 2015 Super Bowl, didn’t play a defensive snap on Sunday.
Bill Belichick said only that they ”put the best players in the game plan like we always do.” Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Butler was in parts of the game plan, but those parts weren’t used in the game.
Butler missed a day of practice last week with an illness. He warmed up and was in uniform, but watched the game’s biggest moments from the sideline. It was the first Patriots game in which Butler did not play a first quarter snap since their Super Bowl win over Seattle to cap the 2014 season. He started 17 of New England’s previous 18 games entering Sunday Authentic Baker Mayfield Jersey
, including both playoff victories.
He seemed exasperated afterward, telling reporters: ”I ain’t got nothing to say.”
Without him, New England’s defense – and particular the secondary – had trouble keeping Foles and Philadelphia’s offense in check.
New England allowed 41 points, more than they have given up in any Super Bowl in the Belichick era. It also surrendered 538 total yards, including 373 through the air to MVP Nick Foles. LeGarrette Blount, a former Patriots running back, rushed 14 times for 90 yards and touchdown.
Eric Rowe started in Butler’s place. He struggled early, giving up three catches for 66 yards, including Foles’ first touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery.
Butler’s teammates seemed confused by the change, which cornerback Stephon Gilmore said they didn’t find out until game time.
”Could he have helped us out? I don’t know. He wasn’t out there, so I don’t know,” Gilmore said. ”We just couldn’t never get off the field. I mean, we could never make a play to give the ball back out our offense.”
The Eagles punted only once in the game and converted on a pair of fourth downs.
The Patriots offense did its part. It didn’t punt and had no turnovers through three quarters. After playing from behind most of the night, Brady gave New England its first lead of the game, 33-32 on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski with 9:22 to play.
But when the Patriots needed a hero late www.officialbruinsproonline.com/authenti...brad-marchand-jersey
, no one was able to make a big play.
And on the ensuing drive New England safety Devin McCourty couldn’t keep Zach Ertz from stretching the ball across the goal line for an 11-yard touchdown reception from Foles that wound up being the game winner .
The Patriots entered the game with 159-15 record, including a perfect 16-0 in the playoffs, when they had won the turnover battle.
They had the first one of the night, on an interception by safety Duron Harmon in the first half.
But it wasn’t enough.
Philadelphia used some trickery, facing fourth-and-goal on the 1 with less than a minute to play in the half.
After a timeout, the Eagles got the ball to Trey Burton on a reverse, who flipped a pass to a wide-open Foles for a touchdown.
New England pulled to within 22-19 after scoring on the opening drive of the second half.
The Patriots defense would break down again, though, this time letting Corey Clement get behind Marquis Flowers and McCourty for an over the shoulder 22-yard catch in the back of the end zone.
Safety Patrick Chung was shaken up on that play and missed a few series. He returned to action in the fourth quarter but had to leave again late in the game with a head injury.
”There was nothing we hadn’t seen. We just didn’t play good fundamentally,” Rowe said.
He said Butler was a presence on the sideline even though he didn’t play.
”After that first touchdown he just came up to me and was like `Keep playing. Keep your head up. It’s a long way. It’s a long game.’ So he wasn’t upset,” Rowe said. ”He was being a great teammate.”