• #LOLCubs. Remember those awful days last summer when we had to sit here and figure out who was the least terrible option between James Russell and Shawn Camp? Yeah, I trepanned myself, too. But apparently those days are here again after Kyuji Fujikawa hit the disabled list yesterday. Shawn Camp got first dibs on a save chance which meant he got to be the first to do his best Carlos Marmol impression. Well, I guess he didn’t walk the house, but he did give up an earned run in the ninth to blow the save and then another three in the tenth to take the “L.” While he hasn’t been as bad as his (to date) 12.46 ERA indicates (.471 BABIP, 52.1% LOB%), he’s still not very good, with a career 4.35 SIERA and a paltry 15.9% K%.
As Ben pointed out in yesterday’s Bullpen Report, Russell may get the shaft as the lefty in the platoon, but his 17.8% K% and 3.79 SIERA isn’t blowing any doors off either. Expect the two to continue splitting opportunities based on handedness, but, honestly, I wouldn’t be bothered rostering them unless I was desperate for a couple saves. Even then, their ratios might hurt you more than the “SV” helps. Also keep in mind, that the longer the ninth inning is a problem post-Marmol, the closer Marmol himself comes to seeing save situations again. Try to erase that thought from your head.
• There isn’t a hashtag for #LOLCards, but maybe we should start one for their bullpen, too. Mitchell Boggs blew yet another save today, giving up a run on a couple hits. After the tying run crossed the plate, Boggs was yanked mid-inning and Randy Choate and Edward Mujica did their best Houdini impersonations to get out of the inning without allowing any more runs to score (partly thanks to the Brew Crew repeatedly trying to safety squeeze). Even so, Fernando Salas eventually let the game slip away in the tenth, giving up a round-tripper to Jonathan Lucroy.
Before everyone (including myself) gets excited about Boggs potentially being removed from the ninth, Trevor Rosenthal gave up a two-run shot to Ryan Braun in the eighth, which helped put Boggs in a tight one-run situation in the first place. Boggs and his sudden control problems (six walks in 6.1 innings) don’t appear long for the anchor-job, but even though Rosenthal has a sparkling 2.35 xFIP, his last couple outings may mean a guy like Mujica would be in the running if the Cards made a move. I’m still holding Rosenthal given his big-time upside, but like the Cubs pen, St. Louis is a bit of a mess in the late innings right now.
• One day after he was pulled mid-inning of a tie game, Joel Hanrahan has been temporarily removed from the ninth inning to work through a hamstring injury. The Sox believe they have isolated some of the problems with his mechanics and think they stem from leg issues. Of course, this move could merely be a clever ploy to get him out of the ninth inning for a week or two and “fall” into the problem of having Andrew Bailey pitch well enough to essentially Wally Pipp “The Hammer.” We’ll keep Hanrahan has the closer for now (since manager John Farrell keeps giving him lukewarm votes of confidence) but Bailey needs to be owned across the board. Anything close to his career 7.6% BB% would be a nice change of pace in the ninth inning for Bostonians.
• Jonathan Papelbon notched another save today, finishing off Roy Halladay‘s “gem” against the lowly Marlins. Good news for owners concerned about his velocity; his fastball was back up over 93.5 mph this afternoon which is a big improvement from the 91-92 mph readings he had during his first few outings. At 32, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him lose a couple ticks, but getting back to near-2012 levels on a consistent basis would be a nice marker for fantasy owners. Treat him as a top-5 closer until further notice.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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