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Bullpen Report: June 21st, 2012

Alfredo Aceves needed just seven pitches to lock down his 18th save tonight in a 6-5 Red Sox victory over the Marlins. Boston’s current ninth inning man got off to a bit of a rocky start in his new role, earning just two saves in his first four chances with a 1.0 K/BB. However, since April 23rd (and entering today) Aceves has “converted 15-of-16 save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA.

That was the good news for those who own shares of Alfredo Aceves in their fantasy leagues. Now on to the bad: Andrew Bailey threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session on Wednesday and is expected to do the same again on Friday. Bailey, who was acquired from the Oakland Athletics prior to this season, was to assume the closer’s role vacated by Jonathan Papelbon who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Unfortunately, Bailey suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb that required surgery on April 4th which has delayed the closer’s regular season debut for Boston. Barring any setbacks, Bailey looks to return “around” the All-Star Break. Now may not be a bad time to trade Aceves and/or add Bailey if possible in your league.

Jose Valverde has been diagnosed with a sprained right wrist and will be re-examined in the next three-to-four days. In his stead, Manager Jim Leyland suggested he will play the matchup game with Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke or even Octavio Dotel. Tonight, Leyland used Dotel in the sixth, Coke in the seventh and Benoit — who eventually earned the win — in the tenth frame. If available, I would be adding Benoit who has a 1.99 ERA (1.92 FIP) and a 12.51 K/9.

Rafael Betancourt dished a clean ninth to nail down his 11th save in 13 chances. Betancourt rebounded from two consecutive blown saves and faced the minimum — inducing a line out and fanning two — en route to the save. This was the first save for the Rockies since June 3rd.

Jonathan Broxton earned his 18th save on Wednesday, good for sixth best amongst closers in the Majors. Broxton struts an excellent 1.57 ERA, but other ERA estimators such as FIP (3.23), xFIP (3.78) and SIERA (3.37) suggest that number could be due for some regression.

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: Tyler Clippard (WAS) vs. BAL

Jordan Zimmerman faces Jason Hammel in what could turn out to be one of the better pitching duels tomorrow. Tyler Clippard has locked down two consecutive saves in as many days, and would likely get the nod tomorrow if the Nationals are up heading into the ninth.

Closer Grid:

  Closer First Second Injured
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Bryan Shaw  
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jonny Venters Eric O’Flaherty  
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Matt Lindstrom  
Boston Alfredo Aceves Andrew Miller Mark Melancon Andrew Bailey
Chicago (NL) Carlos Marmol James Russell Shawn Camp
Chicago (AL) Addison Reed Hector Santiago Matt Thornton  
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Sean Marshall Jose Arredondo  
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Tony Sipp  
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Matt Reynolds  
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel  
Houston Brett Myers Wilton Lopez David Carpenter  
KC Jonathan Broxton Greg Holland Aaron Crow  
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Jordan Walden  
LAD Kenley Jansen Josh Lindblom Shawn Tolleson  
Miami Heath Bell Steve Cishek Edward Mujica  
Milwaukee John Axford Francisco Rodriguez Jose Veras  
Minnesota Matt Capps Glen Perkins Alex Burnett  
NY (NL) Frank Francisco Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch  
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertsonn Boone Logan  
Oakland Ryan Cook Brian Fuentes Grant Balfour  
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Chad Qualls  
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Juan Cruz  
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Eduardo Sanchez  
SD Huston Street Dale Thayer Luke Gregerson  
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Javier Lopez  
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Brandon League Charlie Furbush  
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta J.P. Howell Kyle Farnsworth
Texas Joe Nathan Mike Adams Koji Uehara  
Toronto Casey Janssen Jason Frasor Darren Oliver Sergio Santos
Wash. Tyler Clippard Sean Burnett Henry Rodriguez Drew Storen

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