Bullpen Report: August 1, 2013

Steve Cishek surrendered a leadoff single, but an induced groundout sandwiched between two strikeouts got him out of the ninth-inning unscathed enroute to his 23rd save. The lanky right-hander is now 23-of-25 on the season — his last blown save coming on June 4th against the Phillies — and sports a 3.08 ERA (2.94 FIP) and a 1.15 WHIP. As we look further into (some of) Cishek’s numbers entering tonight, it seems as if he’s pretty close to being the same pitcher he’s been since entering the league. His velocity appears to be holding steady on each of his offerings, both his swinging strike rate (9.2%) and whiff rate (23.9%) are right inline with his career numbers and his batted ball profile hasn’t changed all that much.

Aside from the 15 hits and four walks he’s allowed in the last ten games, the Marlins closer has had himself one heckuva season (so far). If I could go back to our All-Star Break closer rankings I would definitely have Steve Cishek ranked in the top-20, ahead of guys like Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Rodriguez (we should have know he would be traded!) and Ernesto Frieri. Ah well, hindsight is 20/20.

-Speaking of Francisco Rodriguez, well, nevermind he didn’t pitch tonight for his new team. But Jim Johnson did and earned his league-leading 37th save for his efforts. Johnson, another guy I should’ve ranked higher in my mid-season closer rankings, may very well have more saves than strikeouts by the end of the season. He’s currently sitting at 37 saves with 38 strikeouts. And yes, it has been done before — In 2005, Bob Wickman recorded 45 saves against just 41 strikeouts.

-Plenty of rumors about a potential Jonathan Papelbon trade were flying around the interwebs this week with the trade deadline coming to a close. But Papelbon, his (fairly) poor season and even not-so-team/fan-friendly salary remain in the City of Brotherly Love for the time being. Tonight, Papelbon coughed up the lead on four hits and a walk, leading to two earned runs and his sixth blown save of the season. The right-hander is now 20-of-26 on the season in save opportunities and owns a 2.58 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. The biggest red flag (that I can see, with one eye open) is the velocity on each of Pap’s offerings, specifically his slider. Each of the fastball, slider and splitter are down a tick or more since last season, but his slider is down more than three ticks since his twenty-twelve campaign. Additionally, his slider is down more than 10 ticks since 2008. He’s not missing bats (11.9% SwStr%) or inducing strikeouts (22.6% K%) like he’s been able to over the course of this career — Pap struts a career 13.5% SwStr% and 29.3 K% — so I’m not sure this is going to get any better. And as @dianagram said to me on Twitter, “I’m not sure this is what the Phillies signed up for.”

-Quick Hitters: Sergio Romo notched his 25th save of the season in a 20-pitch effort tonight after his teammates beat up the aforementioned Phillies’ closer in the top of the ninth frame. Romo is now 25-of-29 on the year in save chances. The Seattle bullpen surrendered seven earned runs tonight in relief of Felix Hernandez and ruining his fine outing. King Felix surrendered just five earned runs in all of July. Ouch.

Closer Grid:


Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler J.J. Putz David Hernandez
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden Scott Downs
Baltimore Jim Johnson Francisco Rodriguez Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Craig Breslow Andrew Bailey
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg Pedro Strop Blake Parker
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Nate Jones Matt Lindstrom
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Sam LeCure Sean Marshall
Cleveland Chris Perez Joe Smith Cody Allen Vinnie Pestano
Colorado Rex Brothers Matt Belisle Mitchell Boggs Rafael Betancourt
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Jose Veras Drew Smyly
Houston Jose Cisnero Wesley Wright Josh Zeid
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera
LAA Ernesto Frieri Kevin Jepsen Dane de la Rosa Ryan Madson
LAD Kenley Jansen Ronald Belisario Paco Rodriguez Brian Wilson
Miami Steve Cishek Mike Dunn Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Michael Gonzalez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell LaTroy Hawkins David Aardsma Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Justin De Fratus Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Justin Wilson Tony Watson Jason Grilli
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Randy Choate Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Santiago Casilla
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Oliver Perez Yoervis Medina Carter Capps
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee Jesse Crain
Texas Joe Nathan Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
Toronto Casey Janssen Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Sergio Santos
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Craig Stammen Drew Storen

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

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In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, TheFantasyFix.com and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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Detroit Michael
Detroit Michael

Sergio Santos came of the DL yesterday. Must be tough to keep the grid always up-to-date!