By Todd Farino, www.thecloserreport.com
The weekend swing was a term I coined while discussing my head-to head leagues on my fantasy baseball podcasts. It was used to describe the games that would be played Friday through Sunday and could have a major impact on the number of wins and losses I received for the week H2H. I'm taking that term to a whole new level for The Closer Report. Each weekend I will report on what happened in the world of closers over the three day weekend, Friday through Sunday. Here are the results of this week's action for closers.
Mariano Rivera (2), Carlos Marmol (2), Jordan Walden (2), Leo Nunez (2), Brandon League (2), Trever Miller, Fernando Salas, Huston Street, Jon Rauch, Kevin Gregg, Drew Storen, Chris Perez, J.J. Putz, Brian Wilson, Joel Hanrahan, Joakim Soria, Brain Fuentes, Jonathan Broxton and Heath Bell.
Mariano Rivera (10) - After a solid April where Rivera posted nine saves for the month, he opened May with a bang and his 10th save. At 41, Rivera has so far maintained his incredible mechanics and success as the greatest closer of all time. He threw two near perfect innings this weekend, giving up only a hit.
Leo Nunez (9) - In the off-season, Nunez added a slider to arsenal to help keep batters not only off balance, but to help preserve his role as the closer. He has not disappointed. He notched two more saves this weekend and is 9/9 for the season. While he got roughed up on Friday, Nunez struck out three in 1.2 innings of work. His new pitch must be working as so far, batters have only hit .216 against the Marlins closer.
Jordan Walden (5) - Walden has been amazing this year in his rookie season. He is 5/5 in saves and except for giving up a run in a non-save situation, he's been absolutely perfect. The hard throwing righty has given up one run in 13.1 innings. He is without a doubt the Angels closer for the season, unless he crashes hard.
Brandon League (7) - With David Aardsma on the mend, Brandon League has given manager Eric Wedge something to think about. He saved two more games this weekend against the Red Sox, and is 7/7 on the season with a very low ERA of 2.45. Wedge has said that Aardsma will not get the closer job back when he returns because of the performance League has put on, but eventually will be the closer again. As long as League continues to pitch well, I'm not sure if Aardsma will get beck to the closer role after off-season hip surgery.
Carlos Marmol (7) - Marmol notched saves Friday and Saturday and has only given up one run in his past 11 appearances. While his K/9 rate is low this year for Carlos Marmol standards and he has blown two saves, he has shone himself to be more resilient in 2011, and has so far is only short a few strikeouts from what his owners expected.
Highlighted Weekend Saves:
Fernando Salas (2) - Salas scored his second save in three days on Saturday and so far has had a great start to the season. The 25-year old hurler from Mexico has been near perfect this season, with a 0.96 ERA and 10 Ks in 9.1 innings. Sandwiched in-between his two saves was a Trever Miller save, so there is no indication that he is the closer. La Russa commented on his pitcher after Saturday's game, “He’s the guy who was available today." Also in that week, Eduardo Sanchez recorded a save, so it's clearly a committee closing job in St. Louis.
Huston Street (10) - Street recorded his league leading 10th save (tied with Rivera) of the season this weekend, and continues to pitch healthy and strong. He has pitched more innings then any other closer (16.1), and has put up a league leading 17 Ks and a low ERA of 2.20. Street lead the league with 10 saves in April and is on his way to a career year.
Joakim Soria (6) - Soria finally broke out of his save slump. He recorded his first save in 10 days against the Twins on Friday. Soria had a rough April, only notching six saves, but even worse posting a 4.63 ERA and only 5 Ks. He did end April strong, throwing two near perfect innings to end the month. Soria looks to bounce back strong in May and by no means should you give up on your fantasy stud at this point.
Jonathan Broxton (6) - All the fuss was settled when Jonathan Broxton came out on Saturday to save the game for the Dodgers, well kinda. Broxton recored his sixth save of the season, but in doing so allowed a run and gave up three hits. I watched Borxton pitch that day and I noticed that out of 20 pitches, he threw only two were sliders and 18 fastballs. While his fastball topped out at 96 M.P.H., Broxton didn't seem himself and the hitters sat on his fastball. Earlier in the week, Broxton was resting from a sore elbow, so this could be a lingering injury for the Dodgers closer. With Kuo coming back and getting hammered today, I still don't see his job in any jeopardy.
Joel Hanrahan (8) - Hanrahan remained atop the league leaders in saves with his eighth save of the season Friday. While many like myself expected Hanrahan to fade from his fast start simply because he pitches for the Pirates, he has instead remained consistent, posting three saves for the week and posting an amazing ERA of 1.80. There is worry for Hanrahan. While his ERA is low, his WHIP is soaring at 1.33 and batters are hitting the Pirates closer at a .291 clip.