• Another day, another turn of events in Chicago. Apparently on Wednesday the Cubs’ coaching staff determined that Carlos Marmol would regain the closer role as soon as the opportunity presented itself. That opportunity came today, with the Cubs leading the Red Sox 3-0 heading into the top of the ninth frame. As promised, Sveum called upon Marmol to nail down the ninth for the Cubbies. The outing wasn’t pretty, but after a hit, an error, a strikeout and a walk, the former Cubs catcher snuck his way out of a bases loaded jam to earn his third save of the season — and his first since May 2nd. Based on the skipper’s comments, Marmol is the closer to own again in Wrigleyville and fantasy baseball owners should be racing to the waiver wire to check on his availability.
• Chris Perez locked down his Major League leading 21st save this evening as the Indians blanked the Pirates, 2-0. Perez has now saved 21 consecutive games since blowing his first opportunity on Opening Day. As previously mentioned in the Bullpen Report, many industry folks were skeptical the right hander’s “stuff” would be good enough to maintain the ninth inning role for the Tribe throughout the 2012 season. However, Perez’s strikeouts are up from 5.88 per nine in 2011 to 8.14 this season and his walks are down over a run from 3.92 per nine to 2.59 per nine. Those who stuck with Perez are cashing in as he seems to be one of the safest closers to own, at this time.
• In a non-save situation today, Dusty Baker summoned Aroldis Chapman from the bullpen to finish off the Metropolitans of Flushing Meadows. With a four-run lead, Chapman induced a fly ball and fanned the final two batters to give the Reds manager a fine gift on his 63rd birthday. This was the first outing in Chapman’s last four trips to the bump in which the Cuban hurler held his opponent scoreless. Everyone can take a deep breath, for now.
• Casey Janssen notched his sixth save as the Toronto Blue Jays’ closer this evening and is now a perfect 6-for-6 since assuming the ninth inning role. The righty has been dealing for the past 17 outings now, surrendering just two earned runs with a 2.75 K/BB. With the recent rumblings of Sergio Santos suffering a minor setback during his rehabilitation program, Janssen’s ninth inning duties seem to have been extended.
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: Francisco Rodriguez (MIL) vs. MIN
Despite his recent struggles, John Axford was called upon tonight for the save — which he indeed nailed down — but was the third consecutive night on the mound for the Brewers’ closer. Recent struggles parlayed with outings in three straight days make for good opportunity to see K-Rod should Roenicke need an arm to shut down the Twins on Saturday afternoon.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]