Frieri, Downs give Halos two ninth-inning options

Frieri, Downs give Halos two ninth-inning options

ANAHEIM -- Though most relievers and coaches prefer defined roles in the bullpen, Angels manager Mike Scioscia is in no rush to do so with Ernesto Frieri and Scott Downs.

Frieri, who hasn't surrendered a run in 26 1/3 innings since joining the Angels, has more often than not been the ninth-inning guy for the Angels. The right-hander has closed eight of the last ten save situations for the Angels, including Sunday's 6-0 win against the Orioles. Downs came in for the other two, including Saturday night's 3-0 win, lowering his ERA to 0.30 in 30 innings this season.

The pitchers have the best combined ERA of any duo in the Major Leagues with at least 20 innings pitched at 0.16 (one earned run in 56 1/3 innings).

It may be that Frieri is the one in the ninth inning more often for the Angels, but Scioscia said it will remain to be a matchups game as long as it keeps working.

"I think it's always much easier when you have defined roles and you know where guys are going to go," Scioscia said. "We've moved very closely to that, but still, Scott and Ernie are guys that match up very well. If we need Scott earlier against some lefties in the seventh or eighth inning, we have that availability with Ernie behind him. There are times like [Saturday] night, where the matchups might be more favorable for Scottie, and we're going to take advantage of that.