While messy bullpen situations dominated early-season headlines, the Closer’s Corner has been less exciting over the past few weeks.
Here’s the latest:
Joakim Soria pitched two perfect innings Monday, earning the extra-inning win and re-gaining his role as the team’s closer. Aaron Crow didn’t see a save opportunity in his one week as the Royals closer, and will return to a setup role.
It’s too early to say Soria is back to his old self, but his five perfect innings since being removed from the ninth inning are a great sign. It’s safe to re-insert Soria back into your lineup, but it may be wise to hold onto Crow until Soria proves to be effective in save situations.
The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t had a save opportunity in the last week, so we still know very little about the most likely ninth inning candidate. For what it’s worth, Matt Guerrier pitched the seventh in a 4-1 game Tuesday night, allowing a hit and recording two outs before being lifted. Scott Elbert relieved him, only to give up a Chase Utley RBI triple, charging the run to Guerrier. Javy Guerra pitched a perfect ninth, but this situation figures to remain fluid.
Keep an eye on the Dodgers’ nightly box score.
Andrew Bailey blew an 11th inning save opportunity in a wild game against the Red Sox on Saturday. After the A’s took the lead in the top half of the inning, Bailey entered the game in search of his first save of the season. After striking out the first two batters he faced, Bailey allowed back-to-back doubles, which tied the game.
Bailey hasn’t pitched since, and the A’s have lost eight straight. Still, it seems Bailey would get the next save opportunity, though Brian Fuentes shouldn’t be cut loose yet.
Octavio Dotel and Frank Francisco both pitched Monday night against the Royals. Dotel recorded the last out in the seventh and finished off the eighth in a tie game.
Francisco lost the lead in the 11th, allowing two singles and a walk (albeit intentional) before yielding the game-winning hit to rookie Eric Hosmer. A save opportunity failed to present itself in the game. Jon Rauch did not pitch.
On Tuesday night, Luis Perez pitched 2.2 innings in relief of Kyle Drabek, preserving a bullpen that had been overworked the night before. Jon Rauch turned in a spotless ninth inning, his first save since May 27.
Despite this, Dotel, Francisco and Rauch are all in the mix for save opportunities which creates quite the conundrum for fantasy managers. I still believe Francisco is the best option, but Rauch has been the most reliable of the three this year.
Continue to monitor this situation.
Here’s a full closer/setup man list. The most fluid situations worthy of a close eye are highlighted in bold.
- Arizona Diamondbacks – J.J. Putz (David Hernandez/Juan Gutierrez)
- Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel (Jonny Venters)
- Baltimore Orioles – Kevin Gregg (Koji Uehara)
- Boston Red Sox– Jonathan Papelbon (Daniel Bard)
- Chicago Cubs– Carlos Marmol (Sean Marshall)
- Chicago White Sox – Sergio Santos (Matt Thornton)
- Cincinnati Reds – Francisco Cordero (Nick Masset)
- Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez (Rafael Perez)
- Colorado Rockies – Huston Street (Matt Lindstrom)
- Detroit Tigers – Jose Valverde (Joaquin Benoit)
- Florida Marlins – Leo Nunez (Burke Badenhop)
- Houston Astros – Mark Melancon (Wilton Lopez)
- Kansas City Royals — Joakim Soria (Aaron Crow)
- Los Angeles Angels – Jordan Walden (Fernando Rodney)
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Javy Guerra/Matt Guerrier/Mike MacDougal
- Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford (Kameron Loe)
- Minnesota Twins – Matt Capps
- New York Mets – Francisco Rodriguez (Jason Isringhausen)
- New York Yankees– Mariano Rivera (Joba Chamberlain)
- Oakland Athletics – Andrew Bailey (Brian Fuentes)
- Philadelphia Phillies – Ryan Madson (Brad Lidge—DL/Jose Contreras)
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Joel Hanrahan (Evan Meek)
- San Diego Padres – Heath Bell (Mike Adams)
- San Francisco Giants – Brian Wilson (Javier Lopez/Sergio Romo/Ramon Ramirez)
- Seattle Mariners – Brandon League (Jamey Wright)
- St. Louis Cardinals – Fernando Salas (Eduardo Sanchez)
- Tampa Bay Rays - Kyle Farnsworth (Joel Peralta)
- Texas Rangers – Neftali Feliz (Darren Oliver)
- Toronto Blue Jays – Jon Rauch/Frank Francisco/Octavio Dotel
- Washington Nationals – Drew Storen (Sean Burnett)
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