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Bullpen Report: July 25, 2012

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.

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 Brett Myers Matt Thornton
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 Francisco Cordero Wilton Lopez Wesley Wright
KC Jonathan Broxton Greg Holland Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Kevin Jepsen Jordan Walden
LAD Kenley Jansen Javy Guerra Ronald Bellisario
Miami Steve Cishek Heath Bell Edward Mujica
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez John Axford Jose Veras
Minnesota Jared Burton Glen Perkins Alex Burnett Matt Capps
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch Ramon Ramirez Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson Boone Logan
Oakland Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle Grant Balfour
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Jared Hughes
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Marc Rzepczynski
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 Brandon Lyon Darren Oliver
Wash. Tyler Clippard Drew Storen Sean Burnett

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