-Tonight’s ride on the Hector Rondon rollercoaster went off without a hitch. Rondon induced two groundouts to start the ninth before striking out Danny Espinosa to seal the 5-3 victory for the Cubs against the Nationals. The 14-pitch outing for Rondon is a relief for fantasy owners and Cubs nation alike, especially considering he’s allowed eight earned runs in his past five outings. As for the rest of the bullpen, Neil Ramirez finished off the seventh-inning and Pedro Strop allowed a hit in the eighth, but failed to allow the Nats to capitalize on Adam LaRoche’s bunt single. Rondon, available in ~60% of Yahoo! leagues, is now 9-of-11 in save opportunities with a 3.68 ERA (2.19 FIP) and a 28.4% K%.
-Is it me, or does Ernesto Frieri blow up every time it’s my turn to churn out the Bullpen Report? Don’t answer that. He did it again this evening, allowing three earned runs on two walks and a hit in just two-thirds of an inning before being yanked in favor of Joe Smith. Smith took the hill with the bases juiced full of Frieri’s runners and gave up the bases-clearing double to Joe Mauer, ouch. Smith proceeded to fan Kendry Morales to stop the bleeding and notch his seventh save of the season. Like Rondon, Smith is still available in ~60% of Yahoo! leagues.
-Arguably the best pitching duel of the night took place in Chavez Ravine between veterans Josh Beckett and Adam Wainwright. Beckett dished seven scoreless — and is now up to 14 consecutive scoreless innings — with four strikeouts before giving way to the bearded man, Brian Wilson. Wilson fanned two of his own in an inning of work and became the beneficiary of a Justin Turner RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to put the Dodgers up 1-0. Kenley Jansen took the bump in the visitor’s half of the ninth and needed just nine pitches to close out the Cards and notch his 24th save of the season.
The right-handed closer is now 24-of-27 in save chances this season with a 4.01 ERA (1.91 FIP) and a ~31% K-BB%. Jansen sealed the victory for Wilson, his first of the season, who now owns a 4.82 ERA (4.56 FIP) of his own to go along with 14 holds. Despite the ugly ratios, Wilson has actually improved each month since the start of the season in terms of ERA and wOBA against.
-Quick Hitters: Mark Melancon dished a clean ninth frame for his 14th save of the season. Francisco Rodriguez picked up his league-leading 26th save of the season on just nine pitches at home against the Rockies. Rodriguez feels like he’s been around forever — he’s just 32-years-old — and is now tied with John Wetteland for 12th all-time with 330 career saves.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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