-In today’s episode of “Anything Can Happen At Coors Field,” the visiting Marlins held a five run advantage over the hometown Rockies heading into the last half of the ninth until Kevin Slowey was asked to take the hill. Slowey surrendered a couple of runs on three hits without logging an out before being pulled in favor of Miami’s closer, Steve Cishek, with men on first and second. Cishek allowed one of the inherited runners to score on a single off the bat of Nolan Arenado, but he got out of the jam to earn his 20th save of the season. Cishek is now 20-of-22 on the season with a 3.02 ERA (2.95 FIP) and a 1.05 WHIP.
Considering the Marlins aren’t exactly making a run at a playoff spot this season, many industry folks assumed the fish would be fielding calls for the 27-year-old closer. However, there have been recent reports that the Marlins are not interested in dealing Cishek — or his bullpen mate, Mike Dunn — prior to next week’s trade deadline. Mind you, this could just be the Marlins working the media angle to drive up the cost of the two relievers especially since the market for similar arms appears to be barren. If by chance one or more of the Marlins relievers do get moved around the deadline, one would have to take a look at A.J. Ramos to fill the closer’s void in Miami. Ramos struggled mightily through the first two months of the season, but he’s posted a 0.00 ERA (2.10 FIP) with a 1.22 WHIP in just over ten innings on the hill in July. Opponents are triple slashing .135/.289/.135 off the right-hander this month, however, he has to reduce the free passes (17.8% BB% in July) if he/we have any hope of a ninth-inning role.
–Huston Street needed 18 pitches today to notch his 18th save of the twenty-thirteen season against the Brew Crew in Milwaukee. The Padres’ closer fanned the first two Brewers he faced, yielded a walk, then induced a pop out to shortstop to seal the deal. Street is now 18-of-19 in save opportunities this season with a 3.78 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and a 16.2 K%. One has to wonder if Street is a suitable trade target for a team like the Red Sox (or possibly the Pirates?) considering the injuries they’ve recently suffered.
-A couple of folks on Twitter last night asked me about some middle relievers I may consider adding in anticipation of the trade deadline. Based on past experiences, I had a difficult time typing the following name, but considering the numbers he posted in July and the current bullpen situation in Chicago, I forced myself to: Pedro Strop. See, it was even difficult to type it again. The struggling, inconsistent Strop landed in Wrigleyville earlier in the month as a part of the Scott Feldman to the Orioles swap. And since the change of scenery, Strop has posted a 0.00 ERA (1.20 FIP), a 0.58 WHIP and a whiff rate approaching 38%. Additionally, opponents are slashing just .111/.167/.179 against the right-hander in 8.2 innings on the bump this month. A .188 BABIP and 100% LOB% indicate some potential regression going forward, but as of today, Strop seems to be the favorite to take over the closer’s role sould Kevin Gregg continue to struggle or get dealt at the deadline. Based on Gregg’s recent struggles and the approaching trade deadline, I’ve given the Cubs’ bullpen the “yellow light.”
Quick Hitters: Addison Reed (26), Mariano Rivera (33), Bobby Parnell (20) and Edward Mujica (30) each earned saves this evening. Jesse Crain won’t be able to return from the disabled list by the trade deadline, “reducing the White Sox options” with the veteran reliever. Rafael Soriano blew his fifth save of the season tonight and has now surrendered six earned runs in his last five outings. Ouch.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]