Padres give Hader break from closer role after shaky outings

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Padres are giving reliever Josh Hader a break from the closer role after ninth-inning meltdowns on Thursday and Friday resulted in San Diego losses.

Padres manager Bob Melvin said before Saturday’s game against the Washington Nationals that the left-handed Hader would be given time to try to work out his issues.

“We will probably give him a break from that (closer) in the interim here, let him work on some things,” Melvin said. “But, our best team, obviously, is with Josh Hader in the closer’s role and that’s why we got him. So, we will give him a little break for now.”

Melvin said the Padres closer role would be based on matchups game by game, basically closer by committee. With Hader out as closer for now, the role will may likely be shared by Padres right-handers Luis Garcia and Robert Suarez and lefties Adrian Morejon and Nick Martinez.

At 66-56, San Diego enters Saturday’s game battling for the third and final National League wild-card spot. Since the trade deadline, the Padres are 6-10, and 25-32 in their past 57 games.

Hader, who was acquired from Milwaukee on August 1st for four San Diego players, including then Padres closer Taylor Rogers, ha struggled since the move. He has been on the mound when the game-winning run for the opponent has scored in each of his last three appearances, and he has allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings with San Diego.

“There’s a standard that I hold myself to and that’s not result-based, but more executing pitches and getting into a place where I feel dominant,” Hader said after Friday night’s outing in which he failed to record an out while walking a batter, making a throwing error and surrendering a two-run homer to rookie Alex Call. “All the external things don’t affect anything. I go and do my work … just continue to move forward, learn from the mistakes.”

After bursting onto the scene a few years ago for his ability to pitch effectively in just about any relief situation, even going multiple innings at times, Hader had been used pretty almost exclusively as a ninth-inning closer with the Brewers since 2020, at his request. The Padres put him in on Thursday with runners on base, which he rarely did the last few years in Milwaukee.

This season, Hader (2-5) has 63 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings with 29 saves and a 5.30 ERA in 42 games.

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