• Neftali Feliz blew his first save since taking over the closer gig this afternoon, and he did so in spectacular fashion by giving up a two-run jack to David Murphy. We’ve covered Feliz a few times since his ascension to the closer role, so I recommend pawing back through the archives if you need your fix. What you really need to know is that his fastball was still sitting at 92-93 mph this afternoon, continuing a season where his velocity is well off what he was throwing when he was an up-and-coming closer a few years back. The out-of-contention Rangers will probably give him some leash, but with few save opportunities and diminished stuff, he’s not high on my list if I was re-ranking relievers for the rest of the season.
• Joaquin Benoit takes the blown save at home today, although it’s not completely his fault. A fielding error by the recently-acquired Yangervis Solarte led to the Braves scratching a run across in the ninth. Benoit’s inning outside of a leadoff double wasn’t that bad, following the error he retired the rest of the side on a pair of strikeouts and a flyout. Benoit has been a bit BABIP lucky this season (.212), but he is also inducing a low number of line drives (15%) and fanning nearly a third of the batters he is facing. While rumors were swirling, he didn’t get moved at the deadline — with an $8 million contract next year and a $1.5m buyout in 2016 ($8m option) — it’s not inconceivable that he gets moved in August. While that seems unlikely, I’d still roster Kevin Quackenbush just in case if I was a Benoit owner who still needs saves and has space.
• One night after melting down against the Pirates, Brad Ziegler took a blown save against the same Pittsburgh squad by coughing up a run in the eighth inning. The sidearming righty hasn’t been terrible this season, although he owns a 4.20 xFIP in an admittedly small sample size after the all-star break. Of some concern, his L/R xFIP split, which had shrunk last year, is back to 4.19/2.74, making him an “eh” option to require stubborn lefties in the late innings. He’ll continue to be an OK play in holds leagues as long as the D-Backs don’t expose him to left-handed heavy “due up”s, but with Addison Reed looking better lately (struck out the side today), his opportunity to sneak in and vulture saves might be gone.
• Matt Lindstrom tossed his second inning for Triple-A Charlotte as he tries to return from an ankle injury suffered in May. It didn’t go well as the former White Sox closer gave up two earned runs on four hits, fanning one. Lindstrom is a lot of things you don’t want in a closer, he’s older with declining velocity, can’t strike anyone out, and he walks too many guys. That said, with the quagmire the Chicago bullpen has been this season, there’s a chance he gets some opportunities in the ninth down the stretch. I’m so skeptical he’ll be effective, though, that he’s staying on a “do not touch” list for me. The team would likely ease him back into major league action in either low leverage situations or a committee. I honestly think he may do more harm than good, especially when it comes to rate stats and chewing up innings that could be used on higher-whiff pitchers. In deep leagues, speculate at your own peril.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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