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Bullpen Report: May 16, 2013

Bobby Parnell secured his fourth save of the year as the Mets clipped the Cardinals 4-3 in Saint Louis. Parnell surrendered just one hit — a single to Matt Adams — in the bottom of the ninth frame, and struck out one to seal the victory for the Metropolitans. Parnell is now 4-of-6 on the season in save opportunities with a 1.04 ERA (1.86 FIP) and a 0.73 WHIP. However, owners should monitor his K% — which is up to 26% this season from 21% in ‘12 — despite missing fewer bats (8.4% SwStr% in ‘13, down from 10.1% in ‘12). The foreseeable future seems to favor those with shares of Parnell, considering the (unfortunate) news that Frank Francisco felt soreness in his surgically repaired elbow just as he was meant to return from the disabled list.

Tom Wilhelmsen locked down his 11th save of the season and the 40th of his career, but it didn’t come without some excessive beats of the heart. The rangy right-hander needed 24 pitches to subdue the Yankees in the bottom half of the ninth tonight in the Bronx, doing so in surprising fashion. Brett Gardner tallied a one-out single to shallow left-field, then proceeded to steal second and third bases before Wilhelmsen could record a second out. But with the tying run on third, the Mariners’ closer retired Jayson Nix on strikes and induced a Robinson Cano groundout to end the game. Most observers appeared surprised that the M’s elected to go after Cano instead of issuing the free pass to face Vernon Wells. But in the end, the Seattle staff made the right call — this time. Wilhelmsen is perfect on the year in save opportunities (11-for-11) and carries a 0.50 ERA (2.41 FIP) and a 0.59 WHIP. While it appears there could be some regression coming soon for the M’s ninth-inning man, Wilhelmsen would surely appear in my top ten amongst closers if I were reranking them today.

As most of the loyal Bullpen Report readers know, we’ve been monitoring the closing situation in Boston relatively closely. And by closely, I mean just about every night. With that said, while under the knife today, Dr. James Andrews determined it would be in Joel Hanrahan’s best interest to repair his torn flexor muscle, remove bone spurs from the elbow AND perform Tommy John to fix a torn ulnar collateral ligament. That folks, is what we call the trifecta. Hanrahan’s expected recovery time appears to be 12-18 months.

Yes, I’ve decided to write a second paragraph regarding injured Red Sox relievers. Andrew Bailey has been on the disabled list since April 29th with a biceps injury, but after a successful simulated outing today against Mike Carp and Ryan Lavarnway, he looks primed for a rehab assignment on Sunday with Pawtucket before rejoining the Sox. Upon Bailey’s reinstatement, he will surely assume the ninth-inning role. Junichi Tazawa owners should remain in a holding pattern until Bailey proves he can hold down the closer’s job for an extended period of time.

Just as I was about to wrap up the BR for the night, Fernando Rodney felt the need to surrender three earned runs on four walks and a hit, while striking out two en route to blowing his third save in 10 chances. Rodney is now the owner of a 5.28 ERA (4.84 FIP) with a 1.5 K/BB. Now THIS is the Fernando Rodney we all remember.

Closer Grid:


Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Heath Bell David Hernandez Matt Reynolds J.J. Putz
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Eric O’Flaherty Jordan Walden
Baltimore Jim Johnson Darren O’Day Pedro Strop
Boston Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara Andrew Miller Andrew Bailey
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg Kyuji Fujikawa Carlos Marmol
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Jesse Crain Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton J.J. Hoover
Cleveland Chris Perez Joe Smith Bryan Shaw Vinnie Pestano
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Wilton Lopez Matt Belisle
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Al Alburquerque
Houston Jose Veras Wesley Wright Hector Ambriz
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Tim Collins
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Jerome Williams Ryan Madson
LAD Brandon League Kenley Jansen Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Michael Gonzalez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Brandon Lyon LaTroy Hawkins Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Mike Adams Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Fernando Salas Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Carter Capps Charlie Furbush
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
Toronto Casey Janssen Steve Delabar Darren Oliver Sergio Santos
Wash. Rafael Soriano Drew Storen Tyler Clippard

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]