• Chris Perez earned his third save in as many days against the division rival Detroit Tigers, giving him 16 on the young season and tying him for the Major League lead with Baltimore’s Jim Johnson. Due to some of the struggles with his K/BB (1.50) and xFIP (5.01) in 2011, some speculated that Vinnie Pestano could be a candidate to succeed Perez in the ninth inning should he experience the same issues. However, with a slightly improved K/BB (2.57) and xFIP (3.88) through twenty appearances and 16 consecutive handshakes since blowing his first chance of the season, Perez should continue to get the ninth inning call. Don’t lose track of Pestano though, as he will be waiting on the door step with the superior K/BB (4.33) and xFIP (2.64) should Perez lose control.
• Although J.J. Putz failed to nail down a save opportunity in his last outing — his third blown save of the season — manager Kirk Gibson suggested there was “no question” that Putz would continue to be the closer in Arizona. Through 15 innings this season, Putz’s strikeouts per nine (10.20) are up from 2011 (9.4) and walks per nine are slightly down (1.86 to 1.80). Putz has been bit by the BABIP bug (.372 vs career .272) and has surrendered more long balls than normal (21.1 HR/FB) due to some location issues, but when these matters take a turn for the better, we should see the Putz of 2011. If by chance his luck doesn’t improve, David Hernandez would be the man in Arizona.
• Is being appointed the closer baseball’s version of the Madden Curse? It may be. Just one day after Robin Ventura named Addison Reed the closer of the White Sox, Reed surrendered an infield single to Joe Mauer and a two-run home run to Justin Morneau when called upon in the final frame. Although Reed entered the game in a non-save situation and finished the inning off with two strikeouts, this outing has to leave a knot in the stomachs of his owners.
• Among non-closing relievers who have accumulated a minimum of ten innings pitched this season, Wilton Lopez of the Houston Astros leads the pack in K/BB (21.00) and falls in the top ten of xFIP (2.42). Although he is most likely owned in leagues that award holds, it may be time for those in other formats to consider adding Lopez for a boost in strikeouts and ratios.
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 Tony Sipp vs CWS
Chris Perez and Vinnie Pestano have each taken the hill in three consecutive evenings. Look for Tony Sipp to get the call should the Indians be in a closing situation against the White Sox. In his last outing versus the South Siders, Sipp induced two strikeouts, walked one and earned his only save thus far in 2012.
Our Bullpen Report team will also be keeping this closer grid up to date for you. The coloring is supposed to be our general opinion about the volatility of the bullpen — a red light bullpen is an unsteady bullpen. Happy hunting for saves!
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