Here are three MLBbro relievers who need to be on top of their game during the final month of the year.
1. Devin Williams
The Milwaukee Brewers put all of their eggs into the basket believing Devin Williams would be able to replace the production of their former closer, Josh Hader who was traded to the San Diego Padres at the deadline.
The idea of getting rid of an All-Star with Hader’s resume does seem crazy, but throughout 2022, the best reliever not only on the team but maybe in the National League was Williams who made his first career All-Star Game after posting a 1.77 ERA with 59 strikeouts and found himself ranked at the top of the list for Holds as a reliever.
Judging by his first interview after the trade however, Williams did not seem to be a fan of the move, which may have affected him mentally as he allowed a walk-off home run against the Pirates in the first game as the teams closer.
Devin Williams chose to end the game with GAS! Brewers win!
Final:#ThisIsMyCrew 5#AlwaysLA 3 pic.twitter.com/BfDYCOpVUu
— Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) August 18, 2022
A month has passed since then and aside from a few blunders against the Cubs, Williams has been pretty solid.
In his last 15 games he has a 1.99 ERA with 16 strikeouts through 13 innings.
His Brewers currently sit 8.5 games back of St. Louis for the National League Central title, but are only three games out of the final N.L. Wild Card spot.
2. Taylor Hearn
Whether he is a starting pitcher or coming in for relief Taylor Hearn focuses on two things: getting outs and dominating Big League lineups.
It was the Taylor Hearn + our bullpen show🎬@Rangers | #StraightUpTX | 📺: BSSW pic.twitter.com/kpke5F6Hjz
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) September 7, 2022
Hearn began the season in the starting rotation, but the organization felt he would better serve them in a long relief role.
Hearn took the move in stride although he had success as a starter this earlier season.
He was sent down to the minors for a few weeks but was called back up in August and has since been one of the better relievers on the team.
Out of Hearns’ 10 outings since his call up, seven of those have been scoreless appearances.
In those 19 innings he has registered 25 strikeouts and had it not been for a shaky game against the Mariners his ERA would be less skewed over the past month.
In his last five games, through 10 innings Hearn has only given up one run and has 16 strikeouts.
He also helped the Rangers snap a nine-game losing streak Tuesday night when he threw two shutout innings against the Astros allowing no runs on two hits and two strikeouts through two innings.
3. Dillon Tate
If the Orioles want to have any chance of playing playoff baseball in October, they are going to need Dillon Tate to be a lockdown piece in their bullpen.
Dillon Tate meets his new favorite pitcher pic.twitter.com/sN7x4BQHaM
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 21, 2022
Tuesday night Tate did exactly that in what was the earliest he was called in to pitch this season.
Tate entered the game in the fourth inning with runners on the corners and nobody out.
He got out of the inning without giving up a run and that led to a five-run bottom half of the fourth that ultimately was the difference in Baltimore’s 9-6 win.
“Yes I think that game was a must win,” Tate told reporters after the game.
“I think they all feel like that right now, and we are just doing whatever we can to come out on top each day we are at the yard.”
Tate has allowed one earned run in four of his last six outings and has a 4.70 ERA in 7.2 innings over his last seven games.