• Chris Perez was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday with a shoulder injury and after an MRI today, we now know he has rotator cuff tendinitis. While the news could have been worse, as shoulder injuries are always worrisome especially considering Perez had a few shoulder flare ups earlier this season, the Indians are glad he won’t have to miss any significant time due to the injury. In his place in the ninth inning will be Vinnie Pestano. Pestano has been an ace reliever the last couple of years but has struggled in 2013. Pestano has never had great control with a career 3.62 BB/9 but he compensated for it with terrific swing and miss stuff. This year his control has eluded him a bit (5.25 BB/9) as his strikeout rate (9.0 K/9) is down from his career numbers (10.87). Add it all up and Pestano is pitching to an ugly 4.99 FIP.
If Pestano was fully healthy or hadn’t miss any time with an injury this year, we could maybe expect him to regress back to his career norms but he’s been struggling with his velocity since he missed some time in May due an elbow injury. Pestano’s velocity could start to climb back but right now the results don’t look promising. Throwing fastballs in the high 80’s won’t return him to his ace-relieving ways and although he’s been named the closer in place of Perez, I’d be sure to keep an eye on Joe Smith who will now be the main set up option as well as Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen. Colin went over those three relievers over the weekend and not all that much has changed since then.
• Chris Perez isn’t the only reliever struggling with a bum shoulder as Casey Janssen has been dealing with some soreness issues of his own recently. Janssen has been fantastic this year converting all ten of his save chances with a 2.14 FIP. Luckily for the Blue Jays and Janssen owners this isn’t expected to be serious, but if Janssen were to miss any time, Steve Delabar would fill in for saves. Behind Delabar the Jays bullpen gets a little thin with a recovering Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver, Esmil Rogers and Brett Cecil as other options. Things would really have to take a turn for the worse for Cecil to be getting save opportunities in Toronto but it’s worth noticing how effective he’s been this year — in 25.1 innings pitched Cecil’s struck out 28 batters against seven walks pitching to a 2.13 ERA and 2.20 FIP. After years of being a mediocre starter, Cecil has found a home in the pen as his velocity has increased to 91.8 mph on his heater this year with the best peripherals of his career.
• Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect ninth inning tonight against the Marlins and received a win for his efforts against when the Rays took the lead in the bottom half of the inning on a Desmond Jennings walk-off single. Rodney has managed to throw a couple of good innings after each of his blips this season but if he continues to blow games for the Rays it won’t be much longer until Maddon is forced to think about looking Peralta’s way. Nevertheless, the ninth inning is still in Rodney’s hands. If you read the Bullpen Reports here you know the deal with Rodney, 2012 was the outlier not the rule and if he can’t improve on his walk rate (8.41 BB/9) he’s not going to be closing games too much longer. Fantasy managers in need for saves should certainly continue to look Peralta’s way, even after Rodney’s clean inning tonight with the worst case scenario being that you have a solid ratio helper on your staff.
• Jose Veras blew his fourth save of the year against Colorado and is now just 8/12 on save opportunities with a 4.50 ERA and 3.80 FIP. Veras can get you some strikeouts (9.41 K/9) but as the Astros closer and middling peripherals, Veras isn’t the most exciting closer in the game. However, without any competition for saves in Houston Veras’ job remains very safe even if he won’t net you a large save total. Closing out the win for Colorado was Rafael Betancourt, who pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts and looks to be back to form, pushing Rex Brothers back to the set up role.
• Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the season against the Mets and is now just a mere 18/19 on save opportunities. Adding insult to injury, Jason Grilli padded his save lead over Mo, notching his 21st save of the year. In the other games, Jon Papelbon recorded his tenth save and Edward Mujica his 16th save of the season. Additionally, as of this writing Glen Perkins just blew the lead against the Twins on Jean Segura‘s fifth hit of the day.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]