• Rafael Soriano blew his third save of the season tonight off of a three-run homer by Colby Rasmus in the top of the ninth inning. Although Soriano has been having, and should continue to have a solid year racking up saves for the Yankees, a 1.9% HR/FB% just wasn’t sustainable all season and regression reared its ugly head tonight. Even after tonight’s outing, Soriano’s ERA remains a pristine 2.05, but his 3.65 xFIP and 1.20 WHIP prevents him from being an elite fantasy closer. Still, without any concern about his job security, Soriano remains a great source of saves for the rest of the season
• There was no save situation in Boston today, but Andrew Bailey pitched a scoreless ninth inning. While no role change has been announced in Boston, Aceves’ recent struggles and suspension makes Bailey a great candidate to receive saves, even when Aceves returns to the team tomorrow. I wouldn’t advise to drop Aceves for Bailey without an announcement from the Red Sox, but when Aceves does return he will be on a very, very short leash if he retains the job.
• And the first closer to 40 saves this year is…Jim Johnson! Come on down! Johnson won’t strike out many batters (5.43 K/9) but he limits his walks (1.98 BB/9) and kills worms at a fantastic rate (64.5% GB%) en route to a lot of saves this season. Johnson’s 3.63 xFIP and aforementioned lack of strike outs won’t make him a stud fantasy closer but of the 18 earned runs he’s given up this year, 11 have come in two appearances. Besides a couple of bad outings, Johnson has been terrific all year saving 40 of his 43 opportunities and should continue to have ample opportunities as the Orioles continue their fight for a wild card spot in the AL.
• Grant Balfour walked one but struck out the other three batters he faced tonight as he recorded his 15th save of the year. When Balfour reclaimed the role from Ryan Cook I didn’t quite expect him to run away with it, but he’s done just that. In his last eight appearances Balfour is a perfect 8/8 in saves and has only surrendered one earned run while striking out eight in 7.1 innings pitched. Ryan Cook has also been solid of late, pitching a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in the eighth inning tonight, but with Balfour successfully converting saves it looks like the A’s will be glad to keep him in that role with Cook setting up.
• As Colin mentioned last night, Luke Gregerson is receiving save opportunities for San Diego because Dale Thayer is on paternity leave. With that said, Gregerson converted his second save of the season tonight and has yet to give up a since the All-Star Break in 20.1 innings. Dale Thayer is still the Padres closer in Huston Street‘s absence but Gregerson happens to be the better pitcher. Also, without any ninth inning duties once Thayer returns from paternity leave, Gregerson is still worthy of a roster spot for those in need of any small advantage they can find to help their ratios as we start to enter the final stretch of the season.
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: David Robertson (NYY) vs. TOR
Speaking of paternity leave, David Robertson didn’t seem to get the memo as he pitched tonight, “less than 12 hours after the birth of his first child“. Rafael Soriano was hit with a comebacker in last night’s game and with the blown save tonight, he could have a game off tomorrow, giving David Robertson a chance for a save.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]