A few quick updates from Monday:
• Addison Reed blew his second save on the year and now holds a 1-3 record and is 11/13 on save chances. Kirk Gibson squashed any closer controversy rumors but the fact remains that Reed has not pitched well this year. The Diamondbacks gave up some value in a trade for Reed so he should have a long leash but a 5.03 ERA and 5.49 FIP certainly isn’t pretty. Reed is actually striking out more guys (26.7%) and walking fewer batters (4.7%) than last year but the long ball has killed him. A 21.4% HR/FB ratio isn’t sustainable but Reed allows many balls fly through the air with a mere 32% career ground ball rate. I’ll take Gibson at his word and not sound the alarm on Reed but Brad Ziegler is someone to take a look at.
• Kyle Farnsworth recorded his third save of the season last night against the Yankees but according to Adam Rubin “there is no longer a set closer” for the Mets. That doesn’t mean Farnsworth’s owners should let go of his services but Jeurys Familia, Daisuke Matsuzaka and even Papa Grande could see a save opportunity in the future.
• Jim Johnson was on the road back to closer but he struggled in the ninth inning last night and Sean Doolittle picked up his second save of the year. It’s a fantasy owner’s nightmare but Oakland might be back to a closer by committee. I wouldn’t put much weight on the order in the grid below as Johnson, Doolittle and Luke Gregerson should all receive save opportunities in the near future. Johnson nearly worked his way back into the full-time role and that could be the case again but it’s a committee for now.
• It wasn’t a save but Casey Janssen pitched a scoreless ninth inning last night to finish a 7-3 win for the Blue Jays. So long as he remains healthy, it’s safe to assume Janssen will receive all the save opportunities in Toronto.
And now for Tuesday:
• Well look at that, Casey Janssen pitched tonight and recorded his first save of the season. As we know, health has been a big concern for Janssen so it’s a relief (pun intended) to see him pitch well on back-to-back days. Janssen was also hitting 91-92 mph on his fastball, which is right in line with last year. The Blue Jays finally have a closer.
• Aroldis Chapman entered the ninth inning tonight in a 1-1 game and although he recorded two strikeouts he also gave up the go-ahead run on a Chase Headley home run. Chapman figures to have a few hiccups as he works himself into form and so this certainly isn’t a concern but he did have a little case of gopheritis last season. Chapman’s swing and miss stuff will always make him elite but a lot of his balls in play are fly balls and a night or two like this is to be expected. Still, the important thing is Chapman is healthy and throwing his usual 100 mph gas, his owners should throw him out there with confidence. Huston Street recorded the save on the other end of the game and is now a perfect 12/12 on the season.
• Joe Smith pitched a clearn eighth inning tonight, and that looks to be his role in the near future with Frieri continuing to get save opportunities, which played itself out with Fieri nailing down his fifth save of the season. Frieri will likely always be a bit of a roller coaster ride so I wouldn’t cut bait with Joe Smith just yet but the role is clearly in Frieri’s hands.
• Tommy Hunter blew his second save in a row tonight, allowing a three run homer to Miguel Cabrera followed by a solo shot by Victor Martinez. After tonight’s outing Hunter now supports a ghastly 6.60/5.04/3.74 ERA/FIP/xFIP line. Darren O’Day pitched a perfect eighth with two strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 0.60. O’Day’s been a bit lucky this year and won’t keep a 100% LOB% all season and is actually getting fewer whiffs than last year which has corresponded with a decreased strikeout rate. He’s still likely first in line for saves if Hunter’s struggles continue or if Baltimore decides to make a change. Also of note is Zach Britton who didn’t pitch tonight but also has a shiny ERA (0.84) with better peripherals than O’Day along with the velocity (93.8 mph on his fastball) that were accustomed to seeing from closers. Both should be owned/monitored in any league counting holds and teams in need of saves should look their way as Hunter has been ineffective of late.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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