Birthdays are an occasion for reflection, and so it was with Royals right-handed reliever Jason Frasor on Saturday, the day he turned 37.
“My window is closing,” said Frasor, who’s in his 11th major-league season. “This is the second pennant race I’ve been in my life, and I want to make the most of it.”
Frasor is doing just that. On Friday, he delivered one of his best performances since joining the Royals in a deal with Texas on July 16. Frasor pitched a perfect sixth inning in the Royals’ 4-2 victory over the Giants, recording two strikeouts and helping change the game’s momentum.
When the Royals went ahead in the bottom of the inning and held on for the triumph, capped by Greg Holland’s 100th career save, Frasor picked up his second victory in nine Royals appearances.
The Royals are one of baseball’s hottest teams and looking to end baseball’s longest postseason drought. Frasor has the same agenda.
He ranks 12th among active pitchers with 633 career appearances. The first 11 on that list have pitched in the postseason.
The closest Frasor has come was last year in Texas. After spending most of his career with the Blue Jays, he was signed by the Rangers during the offseason, and went 4-3 with a 2.57 ERA in 61 appearances for a team that missed the postseason by falling to the Rays in a one-game tie breaker.
In 5 2/3 innings with the Royals, Frasor has allowed no runs and one hit and has struck out eight.
“He’s filled a nice hole for us in the bullpen,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s a veteran, he’s a tremendous competitor and he comes in banging strikes. He’s not going to get himself in trouble. He’s going to make the opposition beat him.
“With our defense, and in this park, I like our odds.”
The Royals went through a bit of bullpen reshuffling a month ago. The back end, with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Holland, has been solid. Aaron Crow has been solid. But for a team that entered Saturday’s game 50-8 when it scores at least four runs, the Royals didn’t want to leave any holes in the pen.
They obtained Frasor and signed left-hander Scott Downs, who was released by the White Sox, and both have found themselves in a pennant race.
“My initial thought coming here was they had a really good bullpen, why did they need me?” Frasor said.
He’s glad they did.
“I’ve pitched in a lot of meaningless games,” Frasor said.
Not this year.