The Bullpen Report team welcomes you back from a much needed All-Star Break rest. While there are lots of news and notes that could be covered, tonight I’ll hit you with what appears to be the most essential tidbits. However, if by chance there’s something I missed that you feel should’ve been addressed, please just drop a line in the comments below.
While we were away, the San Diego Padres shipped All-Star closer Huston Street up the 5 freeway to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a handful of Halos’ prospects. The addition of Huston Street parlayed with the recent acquisitions of Jason Grilli and Joe Thatcher, should bolster an Angels’ bullpen that ranked 21st in the majors with a 3.75 ERA (3.90 FIP). Street will likely take on the ninth-inning for Mike Scioscia’s bullpen, sending Joe Smith back into the eighth-inning setup role. Not a bad problem to have for the Angels as long as both hurlers continue shoving.
Prior to packing his bags for his fourth professional team, Street notched 24 saves in 25 chances with a 1.09 ERA (2.90 FIP) for the Padres. He induced swinging strikes at a 13% clip and boasts a 28.1% K%, both right in line with career averages. He’s been more effective versus right-handed bats (.188 wOBA against) on the season, but a .240 wOBA against left-handed bats is nothing to warrant shuffling closers in matchup situations (Smith owns a .182 wOBA against RHB, .285 wOBA against LHB), unless maybe Street struggles adjusting back to the American League West. But don’t count on it. Street owners will continue to get saves, but Smith owners could send him to the waiver wire if a roster spot is needed.
Back in San Diego, 36-year-old Joaquin Benoit will attempt to fill Street’s spikes. Benoit has 38 career saves under his belt, 24 of which came last season (‘13) with the Tigers in 26 chances. He owns a 2.04 ERA (2.63 FIP) and a strikeout rate north of 30% in 39 appearances so far this year, so he’s the obvious short-term add for those chasing saves. But how long will the veteran right-hander be stationed in San Diego? Rumors suggest that he too could be on the move to a contender before the trade deadline. Lord knows his former employer could use him back, but more on that later. If by chance the Friars ship Benoit out as well, Dale Thayer and his nine career saves could see some ninth-inning action. Kevin Quackenbush and Nick Vincent could also see some save chances in Benoit’s absence.
The mess that is the Tigers’ bullpen failed to get any clearer this evening. Joe Nathan took to the bump in the top of the ninth of a non-save situation and yielded three earned runs on two hits and two walks to take his third loss of the season. The three earned runs were nearly four, as the three-run double off the bat of Carlos Santana just missed being a grand slam. Nathan (4-3) is just 19-of-24 in save chances this season with a 6.23 ERA (3.91 xFIP). Versus his career numbers, velocity is down, swinging strikes are down (9.3% SwStr%), strikeouts are down (23% K%), ERA is up (6.23) and walks are up, a bit (9.2% BB%). The Tigers need to take a page out of the Angels book and go acquire themselves some bullpen help. Joba Chamberlain is probably the next best thing for fantasy baseball owners in the Tigers’ pen and should see an increase in ownership percentage in your leagues
Quick Hits: Aaron Loup notched his third save of the year for the Blue Jays in a 4-1 victory over the Rangers. Loup earned the look in the ninth with Casey Janssen unavailable. Janssen was sidelined on Saturday with a stomach virus following a trip to the Dominican Republic over the All-Star Break. Zach Britton picked up his 16th save of the 2014 season in one-third of an inning on just six pitches today. Jake McGee fanned one in two-thirds-of-an-inning en route to his 8th save of the season. Jake Pericka started the ninth for the White Sox, but Zack Putnam got the nod with two down to finish off the Astros and earn his third save of ‘14. Sergio Romo served up two earned runs on two hits, including a tater to Giancarlo Stanton, in a non-save situation against the Marlins. Santiago Casilla cleaned up the mess for his fifth save of the year.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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