Milwaukee Brewers closer Corey Knebel has been voted the National League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford for August, and Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colomé has been voted the American League Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford for August. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Knebel pitched in 15 games during August for the Brewers, converting all 13 of his save opportunities and striking out 21 opposing batters. The hard-throwing right-hander permitted five walks, did not surrender a home run and did not allow an earned run on nine hits over 15.1 innings of work to claim his first career monthly award. The Denton, Texas native enters play today in the midst of a career-best 19-game scoreless streak dating back to July 22nd. Since the impressive run began, Knebel’s ERA dropped 52 points and he enters play today with a 1.25 ERA on the season, the second-lowest mark in the Majors behind two-time All-Star Kenley Jansen (1.21) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Earlier this season, Knebel established a new Major League record after beginning the 2017 campaign with a strikeout in 45 consecutive appearances (April 3rd – July 15th). Since then, the All-Star reliever has not logged a strikeout in just two other appearances, culminating in a Major League-best 109 punchouts among relievers. The University of Texas product has tallied a strikeout in 62 of 65 appearances on the season, and he owns the third-highest strikeout-per-nine innings ratio in the Majors (15.17) behind Craig Kimbrel (16.45) of the Boston Red Sox and Dellin Betances (15.30) of the New York Yankees. Entering play today, the Brewers sit 4.5 games back of the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central with a 71-65 record (.522).
Others receiving votes for NL Reliever of the Month included closer Brad Ziegler (13 G, 9 SV, 13.0 IP, 6 SO) of the Miami Marlins; closer Fernando Rodney (13 G, 12 SV, 3.00 ERA, 14 SO) of the Arizona Diamondbacks; and Jansen (12 G, 0.75 ERA, 8 SV, 24 SO), June’s NL Reliever of the Month presented by The Hartford.
Colomé made 12 appearances for the Rays and converted each of his 10 save opportunities en route to claiming his first career Reliever of the Month Award. Alex, who earned his first AllStar selection last season, surrendered one run with 13 strikeouts, just one walk and five hits allowed. The veteran right-hander did not permit a home run during his excellent month, and paced the AL in saves. Alex began his award-winning month in grand fashion, converting each of his five saves with four punchouts without permitting a hit and yielding just a single walk. On Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native extended his Major League lead with his 40th save of the season. On pace for 48 saves, the 28-year-old is attempting to become the first pitcher in franchise history to pace the Majors in saves. In addition, Colomé became the sixth reliever in Club history to reach the 40-save milestone, joining his teammate Brad Boxberger (41 in 2015), Rodney (48 in 2012), Rafael Soriano (45 in 2010), Danys Baez (41 in 2005) and Roberto Hernández (43 in 1999). Rodney holds the current team record with 48 saves during his 2012 All-Star campaign. The Rays enter play today with a 68-69 record (.496) and trail the Minnesota Twins by 4.0 games for the second AL Wild Card spot.
Closer Ken Giles (11 G, 0.64 ERA, 5 SV, 23 SO) of the Houston Astros was also deserving of attention for monthly honors. The 26-year-old right-hander tossed more than 1.0 inning in four of 11 appearances, logging 2.0 innings in two save appearances (August 13th and August 31st). Additionally, Giles notched at least one strikeout in each appearance during his strong month and enters play today in the midst of a 16-game streak with at least one strikeout. During his impressive stretch, Giles has allowed one earned run on nine hits with 30 strikeouts over 18.1 innings pitched. Chad Green (1-0, 2.84 ERA, 12.2 IP, 15 SO) of the Yankees and Steve Cishek (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 13 G, 12 SO) of the Seattle Mariners also received votes for AL Reliever of the Month.