• Apologies for last night where I failed to realize that Dale Thayer pitched in the eighth inning as Luke Gregerson got the save. It’s possible that Bud Black might have wanted to ease Thayer back in as he hadn’t pitched in a week before last night’s appearance but at this point Gregerson, with his incredible slider, is the guy to own in the Padres bullpen. Granted the Padres closing situation isn’t the most enticing in fantasy baseball but saves are saves and at the moment those belong to Gregerson.
• Rafael Soriano apparently blew off the media after last night’s blown save, so it’s nice to see him bounce back tonight, pitching a perfect inning while striking out two batters for his 34th save of the year. And of course Mariano Rivera played a part as Bryan Hoch reports that Mo spoke to Soriano before the game, telling him not to throw so many sliders and to talk to the media. Even when he is out for the season, Mo still provides value to the Yankees, I just wish he could do the same for my fantasy team.
• John Axford nailed down his 21st save of the year tonight against the Cubs pitching a rare perfect inning. Francisco Rodriguez also pitched a perfect inning in the eighth and for at least a brief moment tonight the Brewers bullpen played out how they drew it up in April. Too bad it’s the end of August. Axford has had an incredibly inconsistent season but he’s also been a victim of some bad luck as his .341 BABIP and 17.9% HR/FB% aren’t likely to continue. It’s hard to rely on Axford as his hold on the job is somewhat tenuous but his 3.29 xFIP is plenty decent and having tried everyone else out in the pen, Axford should receive the lion’s share of save opportunities for the Brewers.
• The Astros don’t receive many save opportunities so it’s a little sad to see them blow one which Wilton Lopez did tonight against the Giants. Lopez has been solid all year for the Astros, pitching to a 2.63 xFIP and his job is pretty secure but expecting many saves out of him this season seems a little irresponsible. However, his incredible control (.88 BB/9) still makes him a capable reliever on any fantasy team.
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: Craig Kimbrel (ATL) @ SD
You can’t go wrong picking Kimbrel in any matchup and playing at Petco is as good as they come. It’s also a great excuse to point out that he has a FIP under one (.88) and a strikeout rate inching towards 16 (15.89 K/9). Unbelievable.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]