– One night after suffering a nightmare inning against the Red Sox, Casey Janssen got a breather and lefty Brett Cecil was tasked with finishing off a Marcus Stroman win. The goggled reliever was up to the challenge, finishing the eighth and tossing a scoreless ninth (with three strikeouts). The wheels have really come off Janssen after the break, as he now sports a 7.36 ERA and 4.89 xFIP. There are multiple concerns; his strikeout rate has plummeted this year (24% to 15%) and his normally stellar control seems to have evaporated over the last few months after he looked elite in that area earlier this season. His SwStr% is only down a hair in 2014, but his fastball is getting raked to the tune of a 30% LD% (historically, he has been closer to 20% via PitchF/X). His pitch movement looks fine, outside of a little less drop on his changeup, so it seems like Janssen is just struggling to get a feel for where his pitches are going (hence the loud contact and increased walk rates). Regardless, he still has leash in the Toronto bullpen, but a few more bad outings could cause the desperate Jays to turn to Cecil (2.67 xFIP). Roster him if you want to speculate (or handcuff Janssen).
– The White Sox bullpen continues to be a mess. A day after Jake Petricka took the loss against the Indians, he was not getting the nod as Chicago’s closer. With a one-run lead tonight, it was also not Zach Putnam or Matt Lindstrom but Javy Guerra who started the ninth. Of course, that didn’t go over terribly well as the former Dodgers closer allowed a walk and hit by pitch, putting the go ahead run on base with two outs. Robin Ventura wasn’t going to give Guerra a chance to work out of his own jam and called on Putnam who induced a popup to get out of the inning. People will ask “who is the closer in Chicago!?” If it’s me, I’m probably gambling on Putnam at this point, but you have to look hard at those roto standings. There is no elite option in this pen, so make sure chasing a few prorated saves over the rest of the season is worth the risk you take in ERA and WHIP with this motley crew.
– Jake McGee racked up save number 15 with a scoreless ninth against the Orioles. The team hasn’t been garnering a ton of save opportunities, with this being the lefty’s third save since July 28th. While he’s not “the guy” in Tampa Bay, he continues to be as close to one as they have, as backed up by his 2.44 xFIP. Brad Boxberger has emerged as the number two guy in line, and is also a nice source for rates as you try and gain a few points in those pitching categories.
– Quick hits: Aroldis Chapman picked up a save, although he did allow a pair of baserunners to reach. On the plus side, he continued to show good velocity and fanned a pair of batters, so hopefully he’s getting over his hiccups of the last couple of weeks. Fellow elite arm, Craig Kimbrel similarly put a pair of runners on, but wiggled free from his jam. Mark Melancon notched save number 24 on only 10 pitches today. He should remain a top-12 closing option down the stretch.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
Print This Post