-This morning, Terry Collins indicated that the Mets would call on Jenrry Mejia in the ninth-inning tonight in the Bronx against the Yankees should they be in a save situation. Mejia did indeed take the ball in the Yankees’ half of the final frame, but in a non-save situation as the Metropolitans faced a 1-0 deficit. The right-hander yielded a couple of singles, but fanned Brian McCann and induced a double play to escape the top of the ninth unscathed. Despite not earning a save, Collins’ comments shed some light into the mess that is the Mets’ bullpen at the moment. It appears as if the Mets would like Mejia to emerge from the committee to be the full-time closer when he’s ready. There’s no magical date in mind, but once Mejia is fully transitioned back to the bullpen and is able to pitch in two or three consecutive evenings, he may be close.
The right-hander is 4-0 in eight appearances (seven starts) with a 4.89 ERA (4.42 FIP) and a 22.9% K% (11.4% BB%). The walk rate is a mild concern for me, but he’s failed to allow a free pass in his two appearances out of the bullpen, so let’s hope that trend continues. Until he’s ready, Collins’ words lead us to believe this will be a true committee, with the fresh arm getting the first look.
-On the other side of the 1-0 contest in the Bronx, David Robertson was able to successfully convert his seventh save of the season. Robertson fanned two en route to the four out save, keeping the Yankees’ closer a perfect 7-for-7 on the year in save chances. But let’s set the fancy save statistic aside for just a minute to chat about another storyline out of the Yankees’ pen: Dellin Betances. I wrote a quick jammer about Betances in my middle reliever column back in April, suggesting that he could be a useful add, even for those in non-holds or solds (solds = the saves + holds category) leagues. That’s still the case. Betances continues to punish opponents with the heat and swing-and-miss stuff (13.2% SwStr%), leading to an incredible 41.3% K% entering tonight’s outing. Tonight, Betances decided to fan six of the seven batters he faced, to raise that already impressive K% to 44.8%. The strikeout, ratios and opportunity to pick up some scab wins in the late-innings makes Betances a fantastic option for roto owners looking for some steady production.
-Much like the Mets’ situation, fantasy baseballers have been closely monitoring the bullpen situation in Baltimore in an attempt to decipher if Tommy Hunter is the answer in the ninth, and if not, who could be the long-term solution. Hunter is 11-of-14 in save chances thus far in 2014, but two of those blown saves came in consecutive opportunities in the past week. As those were fresh on Buck Showalter’s mind, and Darren O’Day used up in during the sixth and seventh innings, the Orioles’ skipper signaled for Zach Britton to take the hill in tonight’s save situation. With left-hander Alex Gordon and two right-handers in Danny Valencia and Johnny Giavotella due up, the call doesn’t exactly appear to be matchup based. Britton’s .268 wOBA versus right-handed batters and Valencia’s .356 wOBA against lefties somewhat scream pitching change. But Showalter stuck with Britton and he retired each of the three in groundball fashion on twelve pitches to collect his first career save. Despite the save, Showalter refused to name Britton the closer saying “he’ll put in the best pitchers for the situation.” We’ll keep Baltimore in the yellow for the time being as this appears to be another committee, but Zach Britton will jump into the first chair, not the closer’s role just yet, until we see a definitive pattern or hear otherwise from the skip. (Argue away!)
Quick Hitters: Trevor Rosenthal has struggled a bit as of late, allowing at least a hit and a walk in each of his last five outings. Tonight, Rosenthal was called on to earn a five-out save, and he did just that, his 11th of the season. The Cardinals closer retired five of the six batters he faced, while walking one. The Twins were able to overcome a blown save by Glen Perkins — his second of the year in twelve opportunities — to take down the Red Sox 4-3 in extras. Perkins allowed two earned runs on four hits in the top half of the ninth, but struck out the side to get out of the inning. Casey Janssen dished a clean ninth inning to lock down his second save on the season.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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