KANSAS CITY -- With 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Friday night, reliever Neal Cotts lowered his ERA to 1.04 on the season. Going into Saturday, that was the lowest ERA for a qualifying reliever in the American League. Koji Uehara is second with a 1.14 ERA.
"I have been lucky," Cotts said. "I've left some runners out there the past few weeks and [Tanner] Scheppers has picked me up. Other than that, I just attack hitters and go from there. I really don't pay attention to all of that. I just focus on what's going on, take a lead to the end and get the ball to Joe Nathan. You can't think about any of that. You just go out and play hard and let it all fall in the end."
The 1.04 ERA is also the lowest by a qualifying reliever in Rangers history. To be listed as a qualifier, a reliever must average 0.30 innings per each game his team played. Cotts appeared in 52 innings and 52 appearances over the Rangers' first 153 games even though he wasn't called up from Triple-A Round Rock until May 21.
Prior to this season, the lowest ERA by a Rangers reliever was 1.57 by Jim Kern in 1979. Right now, Kern is third because Joe Nathan has a 1.53 ERA.
Cotts' 1.04 ERA is tied for the 14th lowest by a reliever since 1946. Rollie Fingers had a 1.04 ERA when he won the Cy Young Award for the Brewers in 1981. The lowest ERA was 0.60 by Fernando Rodney with the Rays last season. Cotts needs 2 1/3 scoreless innings to be the 12th pitcher to have an ERA under 1.00 since 1946.