Over the past 48 hours, after their closers all blew saves, multiple managers had to deal with the expected questions asked by reporters about whether or not they still had confidence in their ninth-inning go-to guys.
They all said essentially the same thing, but I heard different answers.
"He's our guy. He's our closer." - Torey Lovullo, regarding Brad Boxberger
Boxberger was not with the Diamondbacks last season, so there isn't a long track record of success for his new skipper to lean on. Pitchers with extended histories with a manager tend to keep their jobs through a rough patch. Boxberger doesn't have that in Arizona, so even though he's done well so far, a few more hiccups and I'd expect a move to Archie Bradley.
"(He) is our closer ... He has to know we're behind him." - Bruce Bochy, regarding Hunter Strickland
Strickland has now blown two saves in his past three outings, but the Giants came back to win both contests, which certainly leaves a lot less of a sour taste in a manager's mouth. Still, if he blows another game in his next few chances, I wouldn't be surprised if veteran Tony Watson -- new to San Francisco this season, or else he'd probably have gotten first dibs on the job -- gets the call.
"Sometimes with a guy like that, with his track record, you've got to let him work things out." - Dave Roberts, regarding Kenley Jansen
In other words, Jansen has an ERA of 8.10 and he's given up a .643 slugging percentage in his first seven games this season (compared to just .285 in 2017). If this was coming from any other pitcher and not one who has averaged 42 saves over the past four years -- and 90 saves over Roberts' two years-plus as manager of the Dodgers -- he'd already have been removed from the closer's job.
Jansen has built up so much equity that, even if he does blow his next chance, I'd expect him to get placed on the disabled list with some ambiguous diagnosis, just so Roberts does not actually have to officially remove that closer tag. And, if that happens, after what would essentially just be a "week off" thanks to the 10-day DL designation, Roberts will send him right back out there for a save at the very first opportunity and pretty much a clean slate should he succeed out of the gate.
Finally, speaking of a clean slate, the Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The interim manager will be Jim Riggleman, with Danny Darwin getting a promotion from Double-A, presumably to fill in for Jenkins.
So, while Raisel Iglesias is still very likely to keep his closer's job, we really can't know what Riggleman might do if he hits a rocky patch. He might well prefer Wandy Peralta or Amir Garrett. There's also the chance that Darwin really wants to see what Keury Mella (currently at Double-A Pensacola) could do in relief and convinces Riggleman to give him a shot. The truth is, we have no clue and all bets are off.
But I have no doubt that at some point during his first few interviews, Riggleman will say of Iglesias, "He's our guy. He's our closer." And we all know what that means -- absolutely nothing.