ANAHEIM -- With each sailing fastball Ernesto Frieri threw past the fastball-hitting Blue Jays in Saturday's ninth inning, it became more clear that the Angels have added an interesting piece to the back end of their bullpen.
"He's exactly as billed," manager Mike Scioscia said after watching Frieri strike out the side in Saturday's 6-2 win. "He's got a really live arm, he has deception, the ball's sneaky. He got a fastball by some pretty good fastball hitters last night."
The 26-year-old may be counted on even more now, with the Angels potentially losing Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins in Sunday's ninth inning.
Frieri pitched in a setup role during Sunday's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays, hurling a scoreless eighth thanks in part to a critical double play. The righty entered the top of the eighth with a one-run lead and promptly walked Adam Lind. After Rajai Davis replaced Lind at first base, Frieri got some help from shortstop Erick Aybar, who screened Davis -- running on the play -- on Edwin Encarnacion's popup back to Frieri. After the hurler made the catch, he fired to first base for a double play, then whiffed Brett Lawrie to end the inning.
In the ninth, Downs hurt his left knee while ducking out of the way of a comebacker and Hawkins fractured his right pinkie while making the catch on a game-ending double play.
Their status remains unclear, but if either of them misses time, Frieri's role could become even more important.
Asked pregame if the righty can eventually handle the ninth inning, Scioscia said: "It just depends on where our bullpen settles, but I don't think there's any doubt in the world that what he showed last night plays anywhere in the last nine outs of the game."