• Frank Francisco made his first rehab appearance tonight for the Double-A Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League. The outing wasn’t pretty for Francisco, who only lasted two-thirds of an inning while surrendering two earned runs on three hits and a walk. Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson said Francisco should pitch again for Binghamton on Thursday or Friday.
• Francisco Cordero blew his second save chance in as many nights since being named the closer in Houston. The Astros’ initially went with the veteran and his 329 career saves over the better pitcher in Wilton Lopez, however, with tonight’s implosion, we may get a look at Lopez sooner than later. This season, Wilton Lopez is 3-0 in 37 appearances (38.0 IP) with a 2.61 ERA (2.73 xFIP) and a 6.00 K/BB. There may not be many save chances going forward for the Astros’, but if it’s the saves you’re chasing, add Lopez immediately.
• Another day, another blown save for the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen, who lead the National League with 19 unsuccessful save conversions thus far in 2012. Francisco Rodriguez was to blame for today’s blown save — his sixth of the year, and second in consecutive days — yielding two earned runs on two hits and a walk, bringing his record to 2-6 on the season. Brewers’ beat writer, Tom Haudricourt, suggested we will see John Axford back in the closer’s role as early as tomorrow.
• Let’s take a step away from all this negative “Francisco” news to update the closer situation in Washington. Tyler Clippard dished a clean 1-2-3 ninth inning tonight to earn his third consecutive save and his 18th on the year. Since allowing seven earned in three straight outings last week, Clippard has appeared in three contests, hasn’t allowed a hit and has yielded just one free pass while striking out four. Drew Storen faced just one batter in the eighth inning tonight, which further indicates that Clippard’s grasp on the closer’s role seems to be safe once again.
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: John Axford (MIL) vs. WAS
Francisco Rodriguez has blown two saves and given up seven earned runs in his last three outings for the Brew Crew, while previous closer John Axford has been regaining his confidence in lower pressure situations. In five outings (5.1 IP) since July 18th — the outing after his last implosion — Axford has allowed just two hits and one walk, while striking out five.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]