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Bullpen Report: April 21, 2013

Greg Holland gave owners a double dip in the saves category tonight, with Kansas City winning both games in a split doubleheader at Fenway today. He faced six batters and whiffed five of them (although the Red Sox were fairly indiscriminate in their strikeouts this weekend). More importantly, he gave up zero free passes, dropping his (small-sample) BB% from a terrible 26% to a still-terrible-but-slightly-less-so 20%. He did still have trouble with his breaking ball a few times, throwing a couple 55-foot sliders in the second game, but his fastball had enough life to get out of jams. He’s regained a stranglehold on the ninth inning, especially since Kelvin Herrera took a loss and blown save on Saturday.

Andrew Bailey looked a little Jekyl and Hyde during his weekend innings. On Saturday, he closed out an emotion win in Beantown, although only after giving up a solo homer and putting the go-ahead run on base. 13 of his first 16 pitches were above the middle half of the strike zone as he struggled to get on top of both his fastball and offspeed stuff. In a non-save situation on Sunday, however, he looked much sharper, tossing a clean ninth with a couple strikeouts in the ninth. Reports came out this weekend that Joel Hanrahan experienced renewed soreness in his hamstring, which could force his absence to be longer than the minimum 15 days required. Each additional day gives Bailey a better shot to wrestle the job away from Hanrahan. He just needs more performances like Sunday and less like Saturday.

Jim Henderson looked solid wrapping up his fourth save on the season, striking out two Cubs while polishing off a 4-2 win. Some people remain lukewarm on Henderson, but he now has a sparkling 2.25 SIERA during his brief big league career. His almost 15% SwStr% is fantastic and lines up well with his similarly impressive 34% career K%. Henderson doesn’t give away baserunners, sporting a super sexy 8.7% (future Mrs. Zarzycki requires a single-digit walk rate). It’s hard to believe a guy who didn’t start pro ball until his age 24 season and didn’t crack the majors until he was almost 30 could suddenly vault his way into the league’s elite closers but Henderson is trying. Make sure he’s gone in your league. John Axford has pitched better recently, tossing 4.1 scoreless innings spread out over five appearances, but may need Henderson to struggle to get another crack at the ninth inning. If Milwaukee’s Dennis Quaid wannabe keeps pitching the way he has, that’s going to be near impossible.

Chris Perez had a rough ride today, loading the bases (albeit with an intentional walk) against the ‘Stros before wriggling out with a one-run win. While Perez’s rates are slightly worse than they were last year, they are well within the envelope of early season variability. Owners should be aware that last season’s 1.80 ERA wasn’t indicative of his true talent level, which is probably better represented by his 3.04 2012 SIERA. That said, there are no huge red flags. One of his big improvements last year was getting his BB% into the single digits and it’s still there (so far) this year. I’m not a huge fan because he could be a trade chip come July (and until last year he was very pedestrian), but even though there was some Twitter clamor during the ninth today, his job is safe.

Phil Coke gave up a home run to Mark Trumbo in the 13th inning today. There’s a reason why he’s not a great option against righties. Wilton Lopez blew a save since Rafael Betancourt was unavailable. He might be useful as a speculative own come June/July, but mixed leaguers can leave him on the wire. Jason Grilli notched save number seven. Congrats everyone who bought in on him late in drafts. Always draft skills.

• Late addition, but Mitchell Boggs was awful tonight giving up four hits (and four runs) while only recording one out to turn a 3-3 tie into a 7-3 deficit. Edward Mujica is the man to own in St. Louis, and I’m just going to go ahead and move Boggs behind Trevor Rosenthal. He’s essentially droppable in all leagues unless you play in something deep enough where everyone from the below roster grid is owned.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Heath Bell
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Eric O’Flaherty Jordan Walden
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Darren O’Day
Boston Andrew Bailey Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara Joel Hanrahan
CHI (NL) James Russell Shawn Camp Carlos Marmol Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Jesse Crain Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Wilton Lopez Matt Belisle
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel Phil Coke Bruce Rondon
Houston Jose Veras Wesley Wright Hector Ambriz
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Tim Collins
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Sean Burnett Ryan Madson
LAD Brandon League Kenley Jansen Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek Jon Rauch Ryan Webb
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Michael Gonzalez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Brandon Lyon LaTroy Hawkins Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Mike Adams Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Mitchell Boggs Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Carter Capps Charlie Furbush
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Jason Frasor Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Casey Janssen Steve Delabar Darren Oliver Sergio Santos
Wash. Rafael Soriano Drew Storen Tyler Clippard

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]