Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel has been voted American League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford for May, and Colorado Rockies closer Greg Holland has been voted National League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford for the second consecutive month. The announcement was made earlier
Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel has been voted American League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford for May, and Colorado Rockies closer Greg Holland has been voted National League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford for the second consecutive month. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Kimbrel pitched in 12 games during May for the Red Sox, converting each of his seven save opportunities and striking out 25 opposing batters. Craig allowed just one walk, did not surrender a home run and finished the month without allowing an earned run over 12.2 innings of work to claim his fourth career monthly award, having won Delivery Man of the Month in August 2011, September 2012 and August 2013. Entering play today, opposing hitters have not recorded a hit in their last 31 plate appearances against Kimbrel, logging one walk and 18 strikeouts. This is Craig's longest hitless stretch of his career, eclipsing his previous mark of 28 at-bats from May 11 - June 6, 2012.
The 29-year-old closer last surrendered a hit to Jonathan Villar of the Milwaukee Brewers on May 11th. In total, the Huntsville, Alabama native has retired 62 of his last 67 batters faced, including 42 of his last 45 opponents. Right-handed batters are 0-for-45 with three walks when facing the five-time All-Star this season, and 0-for- 48 (five walks), dating back to 2016. On May 25th against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park, the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year (Atlanta) recorded four strikeouts in the ninth inning, matching the Major League single-season record. Kimbrel also accomplished the feat while playing for Atlanta on September 26, 2012, and joined A.J. Burnett, Zack Greinke and Chuck Finley as the only pitchers in MLB history to strike out four-or-more batters in an inning on more than one occasion, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. In addition, the third round selection in the 2008 MLB Draft joined Tim Wakefield as the only two Boston hurlers to accomplish the feat in Red Sox lore.
Following his dominant month on the mound, Kimbrel paces the Majors in strikeouts-per-nine innings (16.88), WHIP (0.38) and opponents' batting average (.076). Closer Alex Colomé (1-0, 1.26 ERA, 10 SV, 15 SO) of the Tampa Bay Rays had an excellent month as well. With his 15th save of the season on Wednesday, the 2016 AL All-Star matched teammate Brad Boxberger's club record (10) for saves in the month of May. Others receiving votes for AL Reliever of the Month included Andrew Miller (2-0, 0.61 ERA, 14.2 IP, 21 SO) of the Cleveland Indians; Roberto Osuna (1-0, 1.42 ERA, 8 SV, 17 SO) of the Toronto Blue Jays; Dellin Betances (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 SV, 18 SO) of the New York Yankees; Ken Giles (1-0, 1.80 ERA, 8 SV) of the Houston Astros; Matt Bush (1-0, 0.82 ERA, 5 SV, 11.0 IP) of the Texas Rangers; and David Holmberg (0.87 ERA, 10.1 IP, 6 SO) of the Chicago White Sox.
Holland was perfect in save opportunities, converting each of his eight opportunities in nine games over 7.2 innings pitched en route to claiming his second consecutive NL Reliever of the Month Award. This is Greg's fourth career monthly honor, having also won Delivery Man of the Month in July and September of the 2013 season. Holland, who won the 2014 Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year Award, posted a 1.17 ERA with 15 strikeouts and just one free pass. With his final save during his award-winning month on May 21st, the Major League saves leader converted his 19th opportunity of the 2017 campaign, establishing a franchise record for consecutive converted saves to begin a season. Holland extended that streak to 20 saves in 20 opportunities last night in his first game in June.
The two-time AL All-Star recorded a strikeout in eight-of-nine contests, while recording multiple punchouts on six occasions. Holland, who missed the 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, posted a scoreless streak of 12 games and 10.2 innings from April 21st - May 21st. During his excellent stretch, the right-hander registered 11 saves and a 17:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Helped in large part by their trustworthy closer, the Rockies are currently tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the top spot in the NL West with a mark of 34-22 (.607). Closer Corey Knebel (0.71 ERA, 3 SV, 12.2 IP, 27 SO) of the Milwaukee Brewers was also dominant last month. The 25-year-old has recorded at least one strikeout in each of his 27 appearances this season, which is the third-longest streak for a reliever to begin a season in the Modern Era, according to Elias. Aroldis Chapman owns the top two streaks, posting runs of 37 games (May 11 - August 13, 2014) and 29 games (April 5 - June 16, 2012). Entering play today, Knebel ranks second in the Majors, and first in the NL, with 46 strikeouts among relievers, trailing only Chris Devenski of the Astros (47).
Others receiving votes for NL Reliever of the Month included Raisel Iglesias (12.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 5 SV, 14 SO) of the Cincinnati Reds; Josh Fields (2-0, 0.63 ERA, 14.1 IP, 14 SO) and Kenley Jansen (1-0, 0.87 ERA, 18 SO) of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Matt Albers (1-0, 2.31 ERA, 2 SV, 11.2 IP) of the Washington Nationals; Brad Hand (17.2 IP, 2.55 ERA, 24 SO) of the San Diego Padres; Fernando Rodney (9.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 7 SV, 9.2 IP) of the D-backs; Paul Sewald (1.42 ERA, 19.0 IP, 24 SO) of the New York Mets; David Phelps (0.00 ERA, 11.2 IP, 14 SO) of the Miami Marlins; and Arodys Vizcaíno (1-1, 0.73 ERA, 12.1 IP, 14 SO) of the Atlanta Braves.
The American League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford, Craig Kimbrel, and the National League Reliever of the Month presented by the Hartford, Greg Holland, will each receive a specially designed plaque, suitably engraved, for their accomplishments. This is the inaugural season of the Reliever of the Month Awards presented by The Hartford. The Hartford, the Official Business Insurance & Employee Benefits Sponsor of MLB, has presented baseball's annual Relievers of the Year Awards since 2015. The 2017 Relievers of the Year presented by The Hartford will again be presented during the World Series.