• Koji Uehara had pitched four of the last five days, so John Farrell decided the 39-year-old needed a break. In came Edward Mujica to nail down a one-run game. The Red Sox righty opened the inning by allowing a pair of hits, meaning the situation had all the making of another Mujica meltdown (reminscient of his 10.00 April ERA). Luckily for the Sox and unluckily for the Reds, he was able to retire the next three in order, preserving the win for Boston. Mujica fell off of everyone’s radar after a rough start to the season. It wasn’t just bad luck either — strikeouts were down and Mujica’s notoriously stingy walk rate were on the rise. Life has gotten better since then, however, as he owns a 24/5 K/BB in 35 innings since that first month. His LD% is still well above his career average but the whiff rate on his splitter (bread and butter) has ticked upward. Interestingly, Mujica has mixed in his slider more frequently this season, in contrast to the notion of him being a two-pitch (fastball, splitter) pitcher. While still negative, his linear weights on the pitch are the best they have been since 2009. Correspondingly, this was the last time he used the slider more than 10% of the time. Regardless, it looks like he’ll be an OK holds and scab save option down the stretch, just don’t expect a ton of help in the strikeouts department.
• Rafael Soriano racked up save number 27 this afternoon, although he certainly didn’t make things easy on himself. After entering with a two-run lead, he coughed up three hits and a run before escaping with a Nationals win. The righty’s peripherals are certainly not terrible (3.85 xFIP), but with a 1.79 ERA he remains one of the better “oooh, shiny” sell-highs in fantasy. His .243 BABIP is pretty low (although over 600 innings, he has a .254 career mark, so there’s likely some suppression skill there) and his 2% HR/FB% is just begging for a bit of correction. If you are save in saves, find an owner who isn’t and upgrade somewhere else.
• Non-pitchers pitching: J.P. Arencibia got to make his big league debut. The MLBAM algorithm seemed confused by his offerings, showing him as possessing a low-70’s knuckleball. Alas, he’s no Mike Carp, and he was just pounding batting practice four-seamers in there. Admittedly, he did do a good job keeping the ball out of the middle of the zone (I mean, look at that donut hole!) and induced three flyouts which sandwiched an infield hit. However, he’s going to need a few more clean outings to make it onto the grid. At least his arm slot is more consistent than some other guys who have “pitcher” on their player card.
• Quick hits: Aroldis Chapman hasn’t gotten a save since August 1st, but that’s not his fault. He got some work in with the Reds down by one in the ninth inning and struck out the side. Probably some pent-up velocity there. Glen Perkins racked up save number 30 this year. He continues to be one of the more underrated closers in baseball. Cody Allen didn’t get a save but he did get a win in game 1 of Cleveland’s doubleheader today. Randall Delgado took the loss on a walkoff Zach Walters homer in the bottom of the ninth. Probably should have drilled him in the ribs instead. Hector Rondon pitched a highly efficient 1-2-3 inning for the second night in a row. He’s rebounded a bit after some recent BABIP hiccups and remains a middle-of-the-road option if you need saves. Zach Britton, Joaquín Benoit, and Craig Kimbrel all got you “SV”s. Greg Holland was foiled by a Jason Vargas shutout.
• Also, Alexander Claudio made his big league debut (before Arencibia’s performance). Cistulli is a fan, and has gif’ed (at what I can only assume is like 0.8x) his changeup (which apparently doesn’t need a whole lot of slo-mo adjustment).
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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