A rather slow Thursday in the bullpen world, so please accept these few notes on my behalf:
The White Sox closer-by-committee situation may have cleared itself up a bit today, at least for the time being, anyway. Zach Putnam was placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation after recently feeling discomfort. With Putnam shelved, Robin Ventura suggested that “Jake Petricka will pitch in closer situations more often than not.” And Ventura did indeed signal for Petricka this evening with the ChiSox up 5-2 on the Twinkies in a save situation. The right-hander needed just eleven pitches to retire the Twins in order, with two strikeouts, to notch his fifth save of the season.
A bit more about Petricka: He’s an extreme ground ball guy — boasts a ~63% GB%, which is second in the league behind only Zach Britton among closers — and may not punch a ton of guys out (~18% K%). The 26-year-old’s ratios consist of a fine 2.06 ERA (3.43 FIP) and a 1.26 WHIP, which should be worth the risk for fantasy owners with bullpen vacancies in deeper leagues. Looking a bit more down the road, we can see that Matt Lindstrom is on the mend. Lindstrom appears primed for a simulated game, followed by a rehab assignment, so the Petricka experiment could be super short-term in favor of the veteran with 50+ career saves. But in deep leagues where saves are scarce, you’re adding Petricka for now, but should consider stashing Lindstrom in a DL slot (if possible).
Note: Regarding the chart, I left Putnam off due to the fact that Lindstrom appears to be due back first.
Steve Cishek induced a trio of flyouts to retire three of the more dangerous Braves — Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton — in order on 18 pitches. The lanky right-hander secured his 24th save of the season on his 27th chance. With the trade deadline approaching, and both Huston Street and Joakim Soria off the market, Cishek may be one of the best relief options left for contenders to consider if they’re looking to solidify their bullpen for a playoff push. Consider placing Cishek on the block to test his trade value, it may be worth getting something for him now in case he’s moved.
Quick Hits: Jonathan Papelbon rebounded from Wednesday’s debacle with a clean ninth-inning of work tonight on just ten pitches. He fanned one Giant en route to his 24th save of the season. Yankees’ closer, David Robertson, induced two strikeouts and allowed a free pass in a clean ninth frame for his 25th save of the season. Robertson’s 17 pitches secured the save and Brandon McCarthy’s second victory since being traded to Bombers.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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