• Last night Javier Lopez picked up the save for the Giants recording just the final out after Hanley Ramirez hit a home run off of Sergio Romo. Jeremy Affeldt has had some struggles recently but without any word from manager Bruce Bochy, Affeldt should still be ahead of Lopez in the pecking order, splitting closing duties with Romo.
• Greg Holland converted his sixth save of the year tonight against the Rays and has a secure lock on the role in Kansas City. In fact, since Jonathan Broxton left town at the trading deadline, Greg Holland has converted all six of his save opportunities pitching 11.1 innings while only giving up one run. Also, in that time he’s only issued two walks, exhibiting improved control which alluded him a little this year (4.50 BB/9) compared to 2011 (2.85 BB/9).
• It’s always worth bringing up Aroldis Chapman in the Bullpen Report just as an excuse to look at his numbers this season. Chapman pitched a scoreless inning tonight, striking out two batters for his 30th save of the season and now has 112 strikeouts in 61 innings, with a K% of 48.3%. Not. Too. Shabby. Craig Kimbrel has put up some jaw-dropping numbers of his own this year, but with an additional 13 innings pitched, there is no doubt that Aroldis Chapman has been the most valuable fantasy reliever of the year in 2012 and one of the most valuable fantasy players overall.
• Vicente Padilla was activated from the DL today and came on to pitch a scoreless eighth inning tonight with the Red Sox down by a couple of runs. However, with Andrew Bailey also back in Boston and Andrew Miller pitching very well (3.11 xFIP; 10.30 K/9) Padilla doesn’t figure to sniff any potential save opportunities. Padilla’s stuff has translated well in the bullpen for the Red Sox season as he has a 9.90 K/9 and a 3.45 xFIP, but only those in the deepest leagues that count holds should have Padilla on their radar.
• Jose Valverde has struggled at times this year but he’s now converted his last eight save opportunities and since the All-Star break, Valverde has a 6.5 K/BB after posting a horrid 1.32 K/BB in the first half. Valverde’s saves won’t always come clean, but he has a long leash in Detroit and should receive ample opportunities to rack up saves from here on out as Detroit fights for a playoff spot.
• It’s hard to say what is going on in Milwaukee’s bullpen at the moment. The Brewers started the ninth inning tonight with a five run lead until Manny Parra gave up a couple of base runners, causing Jim Henderson to get the call with one out in the inning. Henderson then proceeded to let both inherited runners score while recording one out, letting John Axford shut the door for the final out and for his 19th save of the season. Kameron Loe and Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect seventh and eighth inning respectively, and at this point all four pitchers (Loe, K-Rod, Henderson and Axford) could see save opportunities in the future. The situation is currently a mess but it’s worth noting Henderson and Axford weren’t used until a save situation arose although that setup can certainly change next game.
For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here is a matchup you may be able to exploit.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Ernesto Frieri (LAA) @ BOS
Frieri recorded the save tonight against the Red Sox and with Jered Weaver on the hill tomorrow, he figures to have another shot to shut the door in the ninth. While Frieri’s second half hasn’t been as magical as his first with an ERA over 6, he’s still striking out batters at a high rate (16 in 12 innings) and you will struggle to find a reliever with more strike out potential than him in the American League.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]