–Tony Watson collected the rare two-inning, six-out save this afternoon in a Pirates 5-3 victory over the Reds. With Bucs closer Jason Grilli and setup man Mark Melancon unavailable out of the pen today, Watson earned a second inning of work en route to his second save of the season. The southpaw dished an impressive eighth-inning, working through the heart of the Reds’ order — Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce — prior to cleaning up the last of Cincy’s bats in the last half of the ninth to seal the deal. While Watson may not earn a ton of saves this season, he’s a valuable asset in holds leagues. The lanky lefty’s ratios aren’t exactly sexy, but he’s notched 11 holds on the season and owns a reasonable 19.7% K% on the year.
–Andrew Bailey blew his third save in the last five outings this evening, and it appears as if tonight’s “effort” was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Reports following the Red Sox loss to the Tigers suggest that skipper John Farrell is ready to shake-up the ninth-inning duties while Bailey “works through his issues.” With Bailey out of the ninth, the Sox could turn to Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara or Andrew Miller. Of the three potential fill-ins, Uehara is the only one to earn a save this season. Miller boasts the best K% of the three (38.4%), but also walks the most (12.5% BB%) of the bunch. But, Tazawa’s 12.7 K/BB is by far the best of the bunch. If I had to add one of the three aforementioned relievers, I’d take a gamble on Tazawa since he was appointed to the same role earlier this season with Bailey out.
–Bobby Parnell locked down his 11th save of the ‘13 campaign on just 16 pitches while facing the minimum as the Metropolitans clipped the Braves, 4-3. Parnell had a few rough outings earlier in June against the Nationals and Marlins, but his last four trips to the hill have resulted in two saves and a win with two whiffs. Parnell continues to develop into one of the game’s better closers and logically makes for a decent trade target for teams in need of bullpen help at the deadline. However, the Mets’ brass claims that the right-hander will not be sold off prior to July 31st, reaffirming the rise in Parnell’s fantasy stock for the time being.
–Joe Nathan tossed 20 pitches in the ninth-inning of the Rangers 4-3 win over the Athletics to earn his 22nd save of the season and the 320th of his career. Nathan fanned the first two A’s he faced before surrendering a two-out single to Josh Donaldson. But Donaldson was gunned down at the plate on a base hit by the next batter, Seth Smith, to end the game. Nathan’s 22 saves rank him among the top five among MLB closers and his 25%+ K% and sub-two ERA continue to make the veteran a top fantasy option.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]