Bullpen Report: July 16, 2012

• It’s sometimes hard to take Ozzie Guillen seriously, but when he said that the Marlins will use a closer-by-committee approach for their ninth inning duties he didn’t seem to be joking as Mike Dunn converted his first save of the year tonight. While Dunn is great against lefties (.254 wOBA against), he doesn’t fare as well against righties (.317 wOBA against) but a pairing with the righty Steve Cishek, with some platoon problems of his own, could make for an intriguing committee. Heath Bell has pitched in the eighth inning the last two nights, and although he hasn’t received a save opportunity he’s pitched two scoreless innings should be seeing the ninth inning again this season. For the time being however, the Marlins are going with a committee and look for Cishek, Dunn and Bell to get the nod depending on the matchup.

John Axford‘s 3.16 xFIP and spectacular 12.41 K/9 show the signs of the  top closer he can be but his 5.35 ERA and control issues (5.11 BB/9) have told a different story this year. Axford’s problems continued tonight too, as he blew his sixth save of the season for the Brewers, giving up three runs and two walks against the Cardinals, unable to finish the ninth inning. Setup man Francisco Rodriguez has been OK this season pitching to a 3.68 xFIP but his declining swing and miss stuff (8.5% SwStrk%) doesn’t tell the story of a man on the cusp of getting the job. Axford has had a disappointing season thus far, but the underlying numbers are still strong enough for the Brewers to weather the storm with him as their closer.

• In a 19-5 game, the Twins decided to give Matt Capps an inning of work, and in his second appearance since returning from the DL he proceeded to give up two runs off of a pinch-hit Endy Chavez homer. Although Glenn Perkins has struggled in July (4.98 xFIP), with Matt Capps entering the game with a 14 run lead, it may take a few more appearances from Capps (without giving up homers to Endy Chavez) before he regains the closing role. While I expect the Twins to give Capps another chance in the ninth inning in the near future, Glenn Perkins (and even Jared Burton) might still receive some save opportunities.

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:  David Robertson (NYY) vs. TOR

With C.C. Sabathia returning to the bump tomorrow, the Yankees figure to be in a position to win the game giving Robertson a chance to show off his electric stuff (14.18 K/9) in a close game. Also, having pitched in three of the last four games, the Yankees might want to let Rafael Soriano have a day off possibly letting Robertson take over the reins in the ninth inning for one night.

Closer Grid:

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

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



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When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias


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Any reasons why you consider the Oakland job in the yellow still? Cook seems to have it solidified.

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