The Los Angeles Angels won their series against the surging New York Yankees this week, holding off late rallies in each of the first two games to secure back-to-back wins. A big reason for that was Raisel Iglesias, who shut down one of the hottest offenses in baseball with relative ease.
Looking to preserve an 8-7 lead in Monday’s opener, the right-hander retired all three batters on just 10 pitches, including strikeouts of DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge. Then on Tuesday, Iglesias tossed another 1-2-3 inning to record his 29th save of the season.
The 31-year-old has been everything the Angels envisioned when they acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason. In 55 games this year, he has pitched to a 7-4 record, 2.70 ERA, 2.79 FIP and 0.83 WHIP with 91 strikeouts against nine walks across 60 innings.
Iglesias has emerged as manager Joe Maddon’s most trusted reliever, and that is evident by his 15 appearances of four or more outs. His durability is one of his most underrated features and has helped the Angels win several close games this year.
However, with roughly one month left in the regular season and the team’s playoff hopes essentially nonexistent, Maddon revealed he is going to stop using Iglesias before the ninth inning, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
“With the position we’re in right now, there’s no sense in really pushing it,” Maddon said. “Whether it’s hopefully with us in the future or even if it’s with somebody else, this young man has a nice future ahead of him. There’s no reason to really count on him right now to do that. …
“I’m very aware, wary of the player and his family and his career.”
Maddon cited Iglesias’ impending free agency as the primary reason why he will limit him to three outs per appearance going forward.
Iglesias is set to reach the open market at the end of the season and could be in line to fetch a lucrative multi-year contract. Even if he doesn’t work out an extension with the Angels, it is a classy move on Maddon’s part to have his eye on Iglesias’ future.
Maddon impressed by Packy Naughton’s first MLB start
Although the Angels came up short of sweeping the Yankees on Wednesday, Maddon was impressed by Packy Naughton’s first MLB start.
The 25-year-old allowed three runs on six hits, walked two batters and collected two strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work.