The Closer Report: Memorial Day Edition

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The Closer Report: Memorial Day Edition
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Saves: 8
Save Opportunities: 9
Papelbon gets hammered, but gets the save. Qualls blows second save.
By Todd Farino,

Hey everyone. I hope you all had a great Memorial Day. There was a full slate of games today, but only a fair amount of saves.

The biggest one to talk about was Jonathan Papelbon's save against the Twins. For the second straight appearance, he gave up a two-run home run.

Today, it was against Joe Mauer, who is one of the hottest players in baseball, but it wasn't enough and he hung on to get his 12th save of the season 6-5. The other home run was to Omir Santos a powerless catcher from the Mets on Saturday.

Papelbon's problem right now is two-fold. The first is location, location, location. Both pitches that ended up being home runs were poorly located. This problem happens with any pitcher, and it's something he just needs to find again.

The other problem is batters are now sitting on his fastball, so if it's not located well, it gets pounded. He has been working on a slider and a changeup to offset the fastball.

He used to use his splitter often, but recently has lost confidence in it.

Papelbon needs to start throwing his splitter more and mixing up his pitches.

His fastball is so devastating that another pitch could make it nearly untouchable.

Heath Bell and Francisco Rodriguez both got their 13th save of the season. Bell had another perfect inning, but K-Rod had some problems giving up a hit and walk, but nailed the save strong with a strikeout and a perfect slider for a pop-up.

In other big news, Chad Qualls blew his second save of the season. He gave up a run on 2 hits in a game the Padres ended up winning, giving Heath Bell another save.

Qualls has given up four runs in his last four appearances. This is the Chad Qualls we expected. He lasted awhile looking out of this world, and now he is imploding a bit.

If you can pick up Jon Rauch from free agency, I would do that ASAP. He already has two saves on the season, and now he's pitching much better then Qualls.

Matt Lindstrom got his first save since May 20. He easily locked up his ninth save of the season against the Phillies 5-3. His control was great, but he did walk a batter.

If you own Lindstrom you should be very happy with this performance. Hopefully, we will see more just like it.

Other Appearances:

George Sherrill (10) - He looks great and is just churning out saves now.

Sean Burnett (1) - Filled in for Matt Capps. Capps has pitched a ton lately and was just getting the day off.

Francisco Cordero (12) - Cordero is on fire. This could be the year for Cordero. He is pitching like he did years ago.

Kevin Cameron (1)- Pitched three innings to get the save.

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