Apologies for the slightly abbreviated Bullpen Report tonight. Have to be on my way to the airport in [checks watch] less hours than Mark Melancon has walks (4) (but I still get more sleep than Edward Mujica‘s two free passes!).
• Casey Janssen had such a rough outing tonight, Steve Delabar had to come in and clean up the mess. Now, in Janssen’s defense, he did come on with a three-run lead, retired the first two batters, gave up a couple singles that dropped in front of outfielders, walked a guy, then suffered thanks to an error by his first baseman that prolonged the game. At that point, Janssen had thrown 26 pitches so Delabar was tabbed and induced a Michael Brantley fly ball for the final out. Twitter is abuzz with “oh, did Janssen just lose his job!?” Unlikely. The man still sports a 3.36 xFIP and one of the lowest walk rates among all big league closers (although he’s no Mujica). He had a rough outing a few days ago in a non-save situation, however, other than that, he hadn’t been scored upon for almost a month coming into tonight. Do not panic. Or take advantage of someone else’s panic. Feel free to handcuff Delabar in deep leagues, though. You never know when injury might strike.
• Joaquin Benoit tallied save number eight tonight. He did walk a pair, but didn’t allow either runner to score. He has worked the ninth inning in his last five outings and certainly has the look of the de facto closer for the Tigers. Make sure he’s owned in all leagues.
Good news for guys who like to own Detroit players in leagues that count holds! Jim Leyland sounded like he was playing a fun fortune cookie game when he went on record as saying “I’m not stretching him out. He can stretch out during the winter – on his bed,” when asked whether bullpen revelation Drew Smyly might be an option in the starting rotation (except he confused in and on). Smyly is outpitching his xFIP by a bunch thanks to a minuscule 2% HR/FB%, but the strikeouts are up and the walks are down, so hanging out behind the fence instead of on the bench certainly is doing something for him. His velocity is not stereotypically way up in relief and his SwStr% only ticked up a little so I’m not expecting him to keep the sparkling 2.00 ERA going forward, but he should keep racking up the holds and helping you out in WHIP.
• Frank Francisco is still not throwing. It’s not surprising he’s suffering with an elbow ailment, but what is interesting is Mets doctors are befuddled as to where the pain is coming from. He hasn’t thrown a pitch since May. If you’ve been stashing him on the DL in a deep, deep league hoping against hope he could come back and garner some high leverage opportunities it’s probably time to cut bait.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]