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Bullpen Report: June 27, 2012

• Besides Giants’ fans and those in holds leagues, has anyone noticed the season Sergio Romo is having? The guy has been filthy. Tonight he earned his fourth handshake of the season while lowering his ERA to 0.83. Romo is inducing swings-and-misses at an astronomical rate (18.7 SwStr%) which leads us to believe his 12.39 K/9 is more than real. Although Romo has only accumulated 21.2 innings on the bump, he’s sporting a FIP (1.82), xFIP (1.89) and SIERA (1.65) that indicate we may see a slight regression, but we’re likely going to see more of the same. At this point, Romo is owned in holds leagues and in shallower leagues with saves chasers. If by chance he’s available, I’d consider making the add to get a weekly boost from his ERA (0.83), WHIP (0.79) and the aforementioned strikeouts.

• For those hoping to get Sergio Santos or Andrew Bailey back in their lineup, you may have to wait a bit longer. Santos, who hit the disabled list with a shoulder injury, continues to play catch on flat ground “with no projection for getting back up on a mound.” The Blue Jays’ reliever has been shelved for over two months now, “with no end in sight.” Bailey, considered to be ahead of his initial timetable, suffered a setback while throwing a bullpen session on Friday, but not in his newly repaired thumb. Boston’s closer felt some discomfort in his arm while throwing off the mound and was not to throw again until Tuesday (yesterday). Bailey did indeed play catch yesterday and reported that he felt “pretty good.” He will have to make some more flat ground throws without pain before returning to the mound.

• It took Ryan Cook 17 pitches, but the Athletics’ closer earned his sixth save in eight chances today to preserve a nice outing by Jarrod Parker. Cook last blew a save on 6/22 against the Giants in which he gave up two hits, two walks and four earned runs. He seems to have rebounded from that outing, earning two saves in his last two chances, with a 3:1 K/BB and hasn’t allowed a hit. The rumors swirling about Grant Balfour’s availability on the trade market further indicate that the closer’s role is Cook’s to lose in Oakland.

Craig Kimbrel struck out the side on 12 pitches tonight to earn his National League leading 22nd save of the year. Immediately following the save, Buster Olney tweeted that “Kimbrel wouldn’t be today’s leading Cy Young candidate, but he’d be one of the names worth discussing.” As much as I believe that the Cy Young should be awarded to a starting pitcher, throwing his name into the discussion would make for a fun debate. In 28 games (28.0 IP) this season, Kimbrel is 0-0 with 22 saves (in 23 chances) with a 1.29 ERA and a 4.7 K/BB. Since May 4th, Kimbrel has appeared in 17 games (17 IP) in which he is 13-for-13 in save opportunities with a 0.00 ERA, a 14.0 K/BB and has surrendered just three hits. He may not win the Cy Young, but if he is able to keep up the pace over the course of the season, it would be hard to leave him out of the conversation.

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: Tom Wilhelmsen (SEA) vs. BOS

The Seattle Mariners will be sending Felix Hernandez to the mound tomorrow evening against Franklin Morales and the Boston Red Sox. King Felix appears to have rediscovered himself in his last two starts (1-0, 2 ER, 8.5 K/BB) and should be able to keep the Mariners within striking distance. With a little run support from the Mariners’ anemic offense, Wilhelmsen could get an opportunity to earn his seventh consecutive save.

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 Darren O’Day
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 Brandon Lyon Wilton Lopez
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 Glen Perkins Jared Burton Alex Burnett Matt Capps
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch Ramon Ramirez Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson 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 Mark Lowe
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.]