–Edward Mujica snuck himself out of a jam tonight to earn the four-out save, his first since May 2012, in a 4-3 Cardinals victory over the Phillies. Mike Matheny called for the 28-year-old Mujica to bail out young gun Trevor Rosenthal with two down and two on in the eighth. The veteran subsequently fanned Laynce Nix to end the Phillies’ rally. Mujica then surrendered two consecutive singles of his own to start the ninth-inning, but was able to finish off the Phils with two infield groundouts and a strikeout, securing his first save of the season. Quickly after the save, our friend Drew Silva tweeted this:
Edward Mujica, acquired last July for, umm, Zack Cox, now has a 1.11 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 28/4 K/BB in 32 1/3 innings with the Cardinals.
— Drew Silva (@drewsilv) April 19, 2013
Not bad, eh? Tonight’s save reaffirmed our suspicion that Mujica has moved himself into the closer’s role for the time being, but I’d still hold onto both Rosenthal and Mitchell Boggs until the dust completely settles.
–Tom Wilhelmsen locked down his sixth save on the season in as many chances tonight. He needed 14 pitches, but navigated his way through heart of the Tigers’ order unscathed. The good news here is the right-hander is perfect in save opportunities. But some may be disappointed in the lack of strikeouts — and the slight spike in walks (8.9% BB in ’12, 14.8% BB% in ’13) — through his eight appearances thus far in ‘13. Yes, of course it’s a small sample size but Wilhelmsen hasn’t been missing many bats either — strutting a 5.0 SwStr% entering today’s game — likely causing his 26.7 K% from ‘12 to dip to its current 18.5%.
-And here goes our daily update regarding the Northsiders: James Russell entered today’s contest in the eighth-inning and cleaned up the Rangers while facing the minimum. He induced two quick ground outs then finished off the frame with a whiff of Leonys Martin. Chicago lead Texas 6-2 heading into the top of the ninth when skipper Dale Sveum called for Carlos Marmol to finish off the game. Unexpectedly, Marmol did just that. The right-hander induced one ground out in between two strikeouts to earn the Cubbies the victory. And while momentum seems to be swinging in Marmol’s favor with Fujikawa on the disabled list, Sveum indicated “he will continue to mix-and-match the bullpen at the end of games, but Kyuji Fujikawa is the logical choice to return as closer when he returns from the disabled list at the end of the month.”
–Jose Valverde was scheduled to face batters today in an extended Spring Training game in Lakeland, Florida. The 35-year-old is then expected to head to Single-A this weekend, and if all goes well, will be promoted to Triple-A next week. The Tigers have until May 8th to recall or release Valverde. Those extremely desperate for saves and room on their bench could stash the old man until his fate is determined. Don’t get too excited.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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