ARLINGTON -- Ernesto Frieri has learned through experience not to carry a rough outing over into the next day, the next game. The Angels' closer gave up a ninth-inning homer on Saturday to Nelson Cruz, but it was in a non-save situation. With a five-run lead, Frieri was getting in some work, not trying to nail down a one-run game.
"I remember when I was in that streak last year of [27 1/3] innings without giving up a run," Frieri said, referring to his remarkable run after coming to the Angels in a trade with the Padres. "When I gave up my first runs in New York against the Yankees, I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. It couldn't go on forever. It didn't bother me the next time I went out there. I didn't give up any runs [against the Tigers]. Next chance I got, I got the save.
"That's why this is the best sport. You have a bad day, you can make up for it the next day. You never want to do bad, but this game is tough. We're facing the best hitters in baseball. They're going to hit one out of the park sometimes. You've got to have a short memory and learn to let it go, move on to the next one."
Frieri is 27, just entering his prime, but he has been a professional since 2003 when he made his debut in the Padres organization. He took tremendous strides last year, holding hitters to a .140 batting average in 54 1/3 innings, racking up 80 strikeouts against 26 walks. His role might change when Ryan Madson is ready to go, but Frieri is all about the team, not personal numbers.
"My confidence every single year is getting huge," Frieri said. "The experience I'm gaining every single day and season is great, especially with the type of team we have. I'm always trying to learn something from everyone. I'm prepared to keep doing what I did last year and help this team win. That's what it's all about. We have a lot of great arms in our bullpen, and I'm happy to be with these guys."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.