Bullpen Report: August 25, 2013

(I tried to come up with a good Sunday night *NSync joke but couldn’t…)

• Not a good day to be a Kevin Gregg owner. After the Cubs finally scratched out the first two runs of their game versus the Padres this afternoon in the top of the 13th, Chicago’s “still” closer promptly coughed the runs back up, meaning the 3,000 fans left at Petco had to stick around for another few innings if they wanted to see a resolution. Gregg has been bad — to put it mildly — over the last couple of months, posting a sub-1.00 K/BB (0.69) and a 5.62 xFIP (not including today) since the all-star break. He somehow has racked up nine saves over that span, but has allowed multiple baserunners in most of them. Talk about walking on the edge. There hasn’t been too much chatter as to how hot “the goggled one’s” seat is, but even if he was assured the ninth inning job, I don’t know if I could stomach the ERA/WHIP hit (and marginal K loss) as the roto season enters its final stretch.

• Gregg wasn’t the only “closer on a bad team who is tough to own” to fare poorly today. Chia-Jen Lo spoiled a Dallas Keuchel gem by allowing a pair of runs (partly thanks to three free passes) in the top of the ninth, turning a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit (a margin saved by fellow, but opposing, closer Casey Janssen). Lo has also been a trendy pickup in fantasy circles for owners scrounging for saves. He brings the heat with a mid-90’s fastball, but an 7/8 K/BB rate in 10.1 innings is just not going to cut it. He has posted better walk rates in the minors (albeit while dodging injury), but closing in the majors is somewhat of a “here and now” proposition. Regardless, the Astros situation (like the Cubs) is one I’ve recommended avoiding unless you are absolutely in dire need of saves — today just underscored that point.

• I had started pimping J.J. Putz on Twitter. Here’s a guy with strikeout stuff whose velocity and control seemed to be trending back after his elbow injury earlier this season. Couple that with current closer Brad Ziegler‘s platoon/strikeout issues, and he seemed like a great target if you were looking for punchouts and saves the rest of the season. Welp. Of course Putz would suffer a dislocated finger and end up on the disabled list. This wasn’t just a typical “oh, pop it back in” dislocation either — bones protruding through skin, open wounds, infections — blech. Putz vows to be back the day he is available; he probably doesn’t need to be rostered in standard leagues right now unless you have like 10 DL slots and want to burn one, but he’s someone to watch in September. Ziegler hasn’t been perfect lately and Heath Bell is pitching like — well — last year’s Heath Bell.

• Quick hits: Rex Brothers notched another save today. I still don’t believe he’s an elite option because of his SIERA (3.31) but his mark is plenty good enough to hold the job down. He’s a good keeper buy for next year if Rafael Betancourt‘s elbow issue is anything even quasi-major. Ernesto Frieri got save number 27 yesterday — for now he appears to be back out of Mike Scioscia’s doghouse, although we know that could always change in a hurry. Frieri owners with bench spots open might want to keep Dane de la Rosa rostered as a handcuff for at least another week or two. LaTroy Hawkins blew up in a non-save situation today. It was ugly. That said, outside of maybe David Aardsma, the Mets don’t really have anyone to turn to, so expect him to get the next opportunity.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Heath Bell Eury de la Rosa J.J. Putz
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden Scott Downs
Baltimore Jim Johnson Tommy Hunter Francisco Rodriguez
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 Jonathan Broxton Sean Marshall
Cleveland Chris Perez Joe Smith Cody Allen Vinnie Pestano
Colorado Rex Brothers Matt Belisle Wilton Lopez Rafael Betancourt
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Jose Veras Drew Smyly
Houston Chia-Jen Lo Josh Fields Josh Zeid Jose Cisnero
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera
LAA Ernesto Frieri Dane de la Rosa Kevin Jepsen Robert Coello
LAD Kenley Jansen 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) LaTroy Hawkins David Aardsma Scott Rice Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Justin De Fratus Jake Diekman 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 Danny Farquhar Yoervis Medina Oliver Perez Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee Jesse Crain
Texas Joe Nathan Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
Toronto Casey Janssen Sergio Santos Brett Cecil Steve Delabar
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

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

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There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

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Kintzler seems to be the setup guy in Milwakee now, ahead of Axford and Gonzalez.