• Kyle Farnsworth received his first save opportunity as the Mets closer tonight and converted it, allowing just one base hit to Yadier Molina in a scoreless inning. Colin went into some great detail last night about this situation so I certainly recommend you check out what he said if you have not already. Farnsworth is getting saves and therefore is worth owning (duh), but just as he was worth owning with Valverde at the helm, Gonzalez Germen is now worth a look for those in need of saves.
• Matt Lindstrom notched his second save of the year, pitching around a hit and a walk against the Tigers. Daniel Webb hasn’t pitched since throwing three innings against the Red Sox on Wednesday and even though he’s lurking it still looks like Lindstrom is the guy for saves at the moment. Nate Jones is still on the DL with a back issue and it currently looks a little worse than normally thought. Although Lindstrom is still most likely the nominal closer for the White Sox, I’d still hold onto Webb, Lindstrom’s 3.00 ERA looks decent enough but his underlying 4.89 xFIP and 3.0 K/9 makes me think there will be a change before the summer in Chicago.
• Craig Kimbrel blew the save tonight but he also recorded three strikeouts. Kimbrel’s shoulder situation last week bears continued watching but this blown save doesn’t seem to indicate that it’s much of an issue. Kimbrel owners would definitely rather the converted save but he was still hitting 97+ mph on his fastball tonight, with a 40% whiff rate on the breaking stuff. Classic Kimbrel. Jordan Walden threw a scoreless eighth inning and I’d confidently place him as next in line over David Carpenter at the moment.
• John Axford nailed his seventh save of the season tonight against the Royals. He’s now 7/8 on saves this year with a 3.12 ERA and a 9.35 K/9. Those numbers look promising but his 4.92/5.27 FIP/xFIP on the heels of a sky high 7.27 BB/9 and an unsustainable .182 BABIP. Axford’s save conversion rate will likely give him a longish leash in Cleveland but his performance is due for some regression and when that occurs you will want Cody Allen on your squad. Allen threw a perfect eighth inning tonight and remains one of the premier setup men in the game, both for holds and ratio/strikeout help. With Axford pitching well and no change imminent, now might be a good time to buy low-ish on Allen, anticipating second-half saves. At worst, you’ll be left with an elite non-closer reliever on your team.
• Quick Hits: Francisco Rodriguez and his awesome season continues as he recorded his eighth save of the season and his fifth in the last six days. Jim Henderson‘s struggles has given K-Rod a firm grasp on the role. Tyler Thornburg pitched a perfect eighth to set up K-Rod and he’s put together a quite the season.If Henderson doesn’t get right soon, Thornburg could find himself next in line in Milwaukee Ernesto Frieri pulled a Frieri, giving up a home run and a walk while striking out three batters for just his second save of the year. Frieri’s struggles would be more worrisome but the other options in Anaheim aren’t intriguing enough to put any pressure on Frieri yet. Although none were earned, Tyler Clippard allowed four runs tonight. We have Clippard ahead of Drew Storen on the grid, but Storen’s had a great season thus far pitching to a 1.53 xFIP with nine strikeouts in 7.1 IP, without issuing a walk. He might be moving up the chain as the primary setup man in Washington.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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