ARLINGTON -- For the first time in his career, Astros reliever Luke Gregerson says he's making quality pitches and not getting the results he's had in the past. Gregerson gave up a two-out, game-tying homer to the A's Jed Lowrie in the ninth inning Saturday for his fifth blown save in his past 11 outings, forcing manager A.J. Hinch to make a switch at the closer role.
Ken Giles and Will Harris, who closed out Sunday's win over the A's, figure to get most of the late-inning action, with Gregerson and Michael Feliz in the mix. Gregerson had saved 16 consecutive games before converting just six of his next 11 chances.
"I'm not getting the results I need right now," Gregerson said before striking out two in a 1-2-3 eighth inning in Monday night's 6-5 loss to the Rangers. "I've run into some bad luck, I feel like, along the way, and it's a matter of who's pitching well and who's not. Right now, I'm not throwing the ball that well."
Hinch said Monday he wanted "ease the burden" mentally for Gregerson, and said the bullpen is deep enough to absorb somewhat of a closer-by-committee approach.
"Everybody looks at the game from the ninth inning backwards, and as the manager, I look at it from the middle of the innings where the starter starts to wobble or I've got to get him out of the game," Hinch said. "I work that way. If I need any of those guys prior to the ninth inning, then I would be foolish to name any of them a closer, when I might need Ken Giles in the seventh or Will Harris in the seventh or Michael Feliz in the eighth or Luke Gregerson.
"I know it's a unique approach, given that most teams go with an identifiable closer. This bullpen's made up to have a versatile group to handle any role I give them."
That's not to say things won't change. Gregerson could return to the role at some point, as well as Giles or Harris, who entered Monday with a scoreless innings streak of 25 1/3 innings as the setup man.
"I'm not worried about it; I don't think [A.J. is] worried about it," Gregerson said. "It's a matter of getting back into that role we were in before. It's not like no one's run into hard times on the mound before. You have to find a way battle through and get back to it."
Hinch reminded reporters that Gregerson is two outings removed from striking out the side and getting a save Tuesday against the D-backs.
"The fact the last three or four weeks have been a roller-coaster ride for him was the reason I wanted to mentally give him a break and get him into a less stressful environment his next outing," Hinch said. "That being said, I might pitch him tonight in the eighth with the tying run on second base and he's going to come in and face Adrian Beltre. I still believe in him. I'm not going avoid him. I'm not going to have him close for the time being."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.