We are only in the second week of the season and already there is much to talk about at the Bullpen Report, all aboard the closer carousel of 2013!
• Aaron Crow received the save today for Kansas City but Royals manager Ned Yost insisted that “Holland is our closer.” Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera had pitched in the previous two games and Yost wanted to give them a day off. Ervin Santana did his part today to give the pen some rest, pitching eight innings before handing the game off to Crow in the ninth. Aaron Crow is a solid reliever and any fantasy team looking to help their ratios or just particularly desperate for saves could look his way. His career 9.16 K/9 and 3.05 ERA will help but at the moment it’s still Holland’s job to lose.
Also, if Holland were to lose the job, Kelvin Herrera and his 97 mph heat are next in line. One could actually make a pretty strong case for Herrera as the better option to close too. Although he doesn’t miss bats at the same rate as Holland (11.64 K/9 in his career) Herrera has better control (2.21 career BB/9 compared to Holland’s 3.96) and strikes out batters at an above average rate himself (8.43 K/9). Oh, and he also throws 97 mph. Anywho, it’s safe to say that you should run, not walk to the waiver wire to grab Herrera if he’s not already owned. I’ll even forgive you if you stop reading the rest of the Bullpen Report, although it’s not advised.
• Well, I don’t think that’s how the Cardinals envisioned their home opener at Busch Stadium going. With a one run lead in the eighth inning Trevor Rosenthal entered the game and gave up a run and the lead by allowing a pair of singles with a hit by pitch in between. However, the real damage was in the ninth when the Cardinals’ bullpen allowed nine runs to the Reds, with seven coming off of interim closer Mitchell Boggs. But hey, at least he got one out, right? It’s not often that an interim closer can give up seven runs in one-third of an inning and keep his (or her) job, but as of writing this Boggs still has the job. His grasp is certainly a little looser than it was before to say the least and I would definitely advise those who ran to pick up Herrera to toss a claim on Rosenthal as well. Five innings pitched is hardly a meaningful sample but Rosenthal has struck out seven only issuing a single walk, all while throwing 97+ mph. If the Cardinals are going to keep Rosenthal’s arm in the bullpen, it might not be long until he’s pitching in the ninth.
Jason Motte is getting a MRI tomorrow and will have an update on his elbow on Tuesday. We will be sure to update you with any new information but without any timetable for now, it’s hard to expect any imminent return for Motte.
• Giving up four home runs in 2.2 innings is one way to lose your closing gig and that’s exactly what has happened to Jon Axford. Jim Henderson recorded his first save tonight for the Brewers and although he needed 30 pitches to do it, Henderson gave up just one hit and struck out two batters. Henderson was sneaky good for the Brew Crew last year with a fantastic 34.4% K% and a 1.95 FIP/2.73 xFIP and I fully expect him to receive the save opportunities for now but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke also said “once [Axford] gets his stuff back, we’ll put him back in that role again.” When Axford will get his stuff back, I don’t know but he’s been struggling for over a year now and what we do know is that Henderson is the closer for the time being.
• Carlos Marmol‘s new role on the Cubs: pitching in the eighth inning with the team down five runs. Similar to Axford, we probably haven’t seen the last Marmol save opportunity but he’ll have to prove himself, and it might take a little while.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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