• Former closers around the league busted down their manager’s door this week demanding they be returned to ninth-inning duties. Well, maybe that was just the John Axford approach — but hey, it worked. On Tuesday, Ron Roenicke signaled for the “mustached one” out of the pen with two down in the ninth. Axford strolled to the bump and induced a Welington Castillo ground out to earn his 19th save of the season. Milwaukee’s manager called on Axford again on Wednesday to seal a 3-2 victory over the Cubs, and he did just that. The right-hander struck out the side while allowing just one single en route to his 20th save on the year. Axford is available in 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• The Padres selected the contract of Tom Layne last week from Triple-A Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League. Layne, a 27 year-old career minor leaguer, recently reinvented himself as a situational reliever in order to get “the call.” Layne adjusted his arm angle and moved from the third base to the first base side of the rubber to create difficult angles for left-handed batters.
So far, so good. In five appearances since being promoted, Layne is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0.46 WHIP) and a 8.0 K/BB. The lefty entered in the ninth-inning today and retired the middle of the Pirates order (Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez and Pedro Alvarez) to earn his first major league save.
• J.J. Putz nailed down his 25th save of the season tonight in a 3-2 Diamondbacks victory over the Marlins. The mighty efficient year rolls on for the Dbacks’ closer, who is now 25-of-28 on the season and has earned saves in each of his last 16 chances dating back to May 22nd. Putz is now the owner of a 3.02 ERA (0.98 WHIP) and a 6.0 K/BB in 43 trips to the hill.
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: Jonathan Papelbon (PHI) vs. CIN
Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto will take the hill tomorrow for the Phillies and Reds respectively, in what is easily the pitching duel of the day. Papelbon took the loss on Tuesday against the Reds, surrendering a ninth-inning moonshot to Zack Cozart. Redemption will likely be on the right-hander’s mind tomorrow should the Phillies be in save situation. Papelbon is 27-of-30 in save opportunities this year with a 2.86 ERA and a 5.08 K/BB.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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