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Bullpen Report, August 30, 2012

• After eight consecutive scoreless innings, Francisco Rodriguez imploded today blowing the save against the Cubs. K-Rod received the save opportunity because John Axford was unavailable and he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, only recording one out in the ninth before letting five consecutive batters reach base en route to three runs, his seventh loss and his seventh blown save of the season. It’s hard to say with any conviction who is in line to set up for the Brewers but with everyone around him imploding, John Axford is definitely the guy to own in Milwaukee.

•  Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 30th save of the year today and although he certainly isn’t worth his lofty price tag (4 yeras/$50 million) the truth is that Papelbon remains one of the most consistent closers in baseball, both in real life and fantasy. Saves are saves are saves and it’s generally optimal to be a little shrewd and wait on saves in the draft, but if you don’t like the heartache of the closer carousel, Papelbon is as good of a guy to own.

•  According to Don Mattingly, The Dodgers “[are] not really sure on Kenley.” Kenley Jansen has been out the last few games and saw a cardiologist before tonight’s game to help decide “the best course of action for the recurrence of his heart arrhythmia.” As of now, no new information regarding a timetable is available and Jansen could be back soon or miss the rest of the season. Until then, Brandon League and/or Ronald Belisario will close games. Belisario has the superior numbers (3.18 xFIP) but League has the “experience” and the higher price tag and apparently the Dodgers helped fix a mechanical flaw in his delivery, as Alan mentioned last night.

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: Fernando Rodney (TB) @ TOR

Jeremy Hellickson takes the bump tomorrow against Brandon Morrow, who has had a solid season but will be pitching in just his second start since being placed on the DL in June. Although the Rays bats are known to go hitless from time to time, I expect them to score a few runs tomorrow, giving Fernando Rodney a chance for a save. Rodney’s 0.77 ERA is a product of some good fortune, but he’s still been fantastic limiting his walks (1.51 BB/9) and has been one of the best closers in the league this year. One of the causes for his turnaround has been moving him to the extreme first base side of the pitching rubber and while I don’t doubt its success, my only question is why haven’t other teams tried this out?

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second Off 25-Man
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Takashi Saito
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Eric O’Flaherty Jonny Venters
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Darren O’Day
Boston Andrew Bailey Alfredo Aceves Mark Melancon
Chicago (NL) Carlos Marmol James Russell Shawn Camp
Chicago (AL) Addison Reed Brett Myers Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sean Marshall
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Tony Sipp
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Rex Brothers
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel
Houston Wilton Lopez Wesley Wright Fernando Rodriguez
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Jordan Walden
LAD Kenley Jansen Brandon League Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek Heath Bell Mike Dunn
Milwaukee John Axford Kameron Loe Francisco Rodriguez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Alex Burnett Matt Capps
NY (NL) Frank Francisco Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson Boone Logan
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Josh Lindblom
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Chris Resop
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Edward Mujica
SD Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer Brad Brach Huston Street
SF Sergio Romo Javier Lopez Santiago Casilla
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Stephen Pryor Charlie Furbush
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Kyle Farnsworth
Texas Joe Nathan Mike Adams Alexei Ogando
Toronto Casey Janssen Brandon Lyon Darren Oliver
Wash. Tyler Clippard Drew Storen Sean Burnett

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