Hoping you all enjoyed your Memorial Day, ending with the latest edition of the Bullpen Report!
• In a tie game in the 7th inning this afternoon, the Mets brought in Bobby Parnell who proceeded to give up a run on two hits and a walk, getting the loss against the Phillies. Then, down by one run in the 8th, Jon Rauch pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a single to Cole Hamels. What does this mean to all of us desperate for saves? It means that Frank Francisco is still the Mets closer and there is no strong inclination on who would be next in line. Frustrating, I know. For now, Rauch seems to have the inside track if something happens to Frank Squared, but Parnell’s skillset (9.58 K/9) will provide more value for your team in a non-closer capacity.
• A day after removing Rafael Dolis from the closer’s role, the Cubs let Casey Coleman pitch the ninth inning today but Coleman has a career ERA over 5.00 and didn’t enter a save situation, so don’t expect him to enter the closer conversation in Chicago. Lefty James Russell, expected to share the closer’s role with Shawn Camp in place of Dolis, pitched a scoreless eighth due to matchups as lefty hitting Will Venable and Yonder Alonso were due to bat first and third in the inning. Too make the entire situation even murkier, Carlos Marmol was activated from the 15-day DL today, as Dolis was optioned to Triple-A. Marmol will likely pitch in middle relief and not in any high-leverage innings, but considering his contract and the lack of reliability of Camp and Russell, Marmol is worth monitoring.
• Red Sox reliever Scott Atchison pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning today against the Tigers, lowering his ERA to 0.93 (3.07 xFIP), and now hasn’t given up a run since April 25th, pitching 17.1 consecutive scoreless innings. Alfredo Aceves then gave up two runs in a non-save situation in the ninth inning off of a Jhonny Peralta home run and has now struggled in his last two outings just after he was starting to make Red Sox fans feel safe again at the end of the game. The Red Sox might prefer to have Atchison pitch in a multi-inning relief role like he has, but that is also a role Aceves has succeeded at in the past. Franklin Morales has not pitched that well this year (4.86 xFIP) and Daniel Bard is still in the Red Sox rotation, so Atchison is another reliever worth monitoring, but it’s still Aceves’ job to lose.
• Just when you think Heath Bell is gone, he comes back! After giving up 3 runs in his previous two outings, even conceding a save to Steve Cishek, Bell came back and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning today, getting the save against the Nationals. Heath Bell is still the Marlins closer, but he hasn’t pitched well at all this year pitching to the lowest strikeout rate of his career (6.00 K/9) and an xFIP dangerously close to six (5.95). Ozzie Guillen removed Bell from the role briefly a few weeks ago, and certainly can again if Bell continues to pitch poorly and inconsistently, so Steve Cishek still needs to be owned, and Mujica on watch for teams in need for saves.
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: Addison Reed (CHI) at TB
Addison Reed converted his save chance today against the Rays, and could figure to get another chance tomorrow against the same team. Also, regardless if there is a save situation, Reed has great strikeout ability (11.15 K/9) to help your team.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]