• Bobby Parnell gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth tonight, blowing the save against the Nationals. For Parnell it was his third blown save of the year and his second loss to go with his four wins on the season. Even after tonight’s outing, Parnell still has a 2.55 ERA on the season, backed by an impressive 2.30 FIP. Considering Parnell throws 95 mph, it would be nice to see a few more swings and misses (8.6% SwStr%; 8.39 K/9) but his worm killing ways (52.4% GB%) and better than average control make him a highly effective end game option. Before the season, Frank Francisco‘s name was mentioned as someone to keep an eye on, but the only news we have heard has been set backs, and at this point the Mets don’t really know when he’ll be back. With nobody lurking behind him Parnell’s job is very secure and although the name on the front of his jersey isn’t ideal for saves, he remains a solid fantasy and real life option.
• I wouldn’t necessarily use Brandon League and confidence in the same sentence, but he did notch his 12th save of the season last night, pitching around one walk for a scoreless ninth inning. Kenley Jansen‘s improved control (1.95 BB/9) to go with an already impressive skill-set will probably see the ninth inning at some point this season but if you need saves and can acquire League for some spare parts, it’s certainly something to consider.
• Before May 27th, Sean Doolittle had thrown 23 innings while only letting two runners score. However, in his last three appearances he’s allowed seven runs in only two innings pitched. Doolittle wasn’t pitching well enough to maintain a 0.78 ERA all year (not that anyone is) and his ERA is now more in line with his 2.67 FIP. Doolittle remains a strong set up option but mostly for holds and/or ratios as Ryan Cook is likely ahead in the pecking order for saves. Doolittle’s 8.53 K/9 isn’t too attractive but his swinging-strike rate of 13.0% is actually higher than last year (12.5%) when he had an impressive 11.41 K/9, so some positive regression could be in store there. I tend to believe this is likely more of a blip on the radar but as a converted hitter who basically only uses one pitch, major league hitters may finally be adjusting to Doolittle, let’s see how Doolittle adjusts back.
• With Rafael Betancourt on the DL, the Rockies turned to Rex Brothers and he pitched a perfect inning for his second save of the season. Betancourt isn’t expected to miss much more than the required DL time but Brothers should pick up a few saves in his absence. Brothers has always struggled a little bit with his control, and he still isn’t elite but his 4.21 BB/9 would still be the best mark of his career. He isn’t as good as his 0.35 ERA would suggest as a 96.7% LOB% isn’t close to sustainable but Brothers FIP is a solid 2.52 and he should remain an ownable worthy option even when Betancourt returns.
• Jim Johnson recorded his 19th save of the season against the lowly Astros and has now pitched four consecutive scoreless innings, picking up four saves since his blow up on May 26th. Johnson will continue to have some bad outings, just like he did at times last year, but he has the confidence of his manager and should continue to groundball his way to saves in Baltimore.
• Jim Henderson is currently on the DL with a strained hamstring but is confident he can return when he’s eligible on Sunday. Francisco Rodriguez has been effective in place of Henderson but I assume Henderson will reclaim his ninth inning role when he returns, which might be just around the corner.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]