• Drew Storen looked great in his first rehab outing today needing just eight pitches to complete his perfect inning. Tyler Clippard is still expected to hold onto the ninth inning duties for the Nationals, but Storen is on track to return to the Nationals after the break and is worth keeping an eye on if Clippard were to struggle.
• Neftali Feliz is also rehabbing an injury and is being stretched out to enter the Rangers rotation. Joe Nathan has been outstanding this year with a 2.24 xFIP while striking out over 11 batters every nine innings so a closing change wasn’t imminent in Texas, but Feliz’s former dominance in the bullpen could have been compelling for fantasy owners in need of holds and/or help with their ratios.
• Daniel Bard is not pitching well, at all, facing four batters in his last outing without retiring anyone. Alfredo Aceves has struggled at times this season but overall hasn’t been so terrible with a 3.74 xFIP, and with Bard struggling in AAA (8.78 ERA in 13.2 innings), it looks like Aceves’ job is safe.
• Giants closer Santiago Casilla wasn’t available tonight due to a blister and Sergio Romo came on and converted the save against the Pirates, his fifth of the year. Romo has put up great numbers this season for the Giants (2.68xFIP; 10.80 K/9) and should be considered an instant pickup for all teams in need of saves. Casilla has struggled recently and I still expect Bochy to give him a chance to close again once his blister heals, but Romo is a necessary handcuff for Casilla owners and has a chance to take over if Casilla continues to struggle.
• Carlos Marmol had been pitching effectively of late for the Cubs but was very Marmol-esque tonight, walking three batters and giving up three runs in a non save situation in the ninth inning against the Mets. Marmol’s job isn’t in danger after this poor outing and he will still continue see the next save opportunities for the Cubs.
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) at HOU
Zack Greinke has been excellent this season (2.79 xFIP) and although he may not be pitching in the All-Star game this season, he should fare well against the Astros tomorrow, giving closer John Axford a chance to save a win for the Brewers. Axford has had an up and down season closing for the Brew Crew but his peripheral numbers tell a different story as a 3.06 xFIP and a 12.69 K/9 are nothing to sneeze at.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]