• The Indians still haven’t had a save situation since Chris Perez went down, but Vinnie Pestano came on in the ninth of a four-run game today. He promptly gave up a round-tripper to Xavier Paul, but settled down to finish off the victory. I still don’t like his peripherals, but you have to own “the guy.” Cody Allen tossed a scoreless inning with a couple strikeouts. He probably got plucked up the last couple days following the Perez news, but even if he’s not closing, he’s a nice source of K’s and ERA for your squad.
• Mixed reports on Casey Janssen. A couple days ago, word trickled out that Janssen had been unavailable for a few days because of shoulder soreness (seemingly associated with his offseason surgery) and that he “continues to have good days and bad days.” Not the most ringing of endorsements for his long-term job security, although he’s extremely locked in to the ninth inning with Sergio Santos on the shelf. Of course, Janssen looked just fine polishing off a shutout tonight, so I wouldn’t panic if I were his owner. Hopefully he builds up strength in his shoulder as the season goes along and any nagging pain he still feels fades as the weather warms up.
• It seems like Jim Johnson and Fernando Rodney get written about together a lot. Last year, both guys came out of nowhere to be top relievers, only to join each other on “bust alert!” lists this offseason. Over the last two weeks, both have hit rough patches at roughly the same time, too. Well, both notched saves today, providing their owners with at least a sliver of good. Johnson’s 3.71 xFIP isn’t great, but it certainly is passable in the ninth inning. Even with a few hiccups, he should be relatively safe. Rodney only needed a single out tonight, but, hey, a save is a save. He has the more concerning peripherals, with a 4.14 xFIP and a near-20% BB%. Regardless of what Joe Maddon says, I’m still rostering Joel Peralta where I can. Rodney’s another massive implosion away from losing (even if only temporarily) the ninth inning. And when you walk 1/5th of the guys who come to the plate, it’s like you are pouring gasoline around a bonfire.
• On the injury front there was both good and bad news for National League setup men. Jordan Walden was activated from the disabled list after proving his shoulder inflammation is behind him and was thrust into action tonight (scoreless inning). Walden’s ERA is a mediocre 4.50 but his 3.18 xFIP is much closer to how he has actually thrown this year. His 29% K% is not far off his career average, but he’s chopped his BB% in half so far (reverse Rodney!). The Braves hope those gains are sustainable and fantasy owners should grab him in holds leagues where he was dropped a few weeks ago. He’s also the clear-cut number two behind Craig Kimbrel for those who handcuff.
Unfortunately, Walden’s activation is offset by the news that Chicago reliever Kyuji Fujikawa needs to undergo Tommy John surgery and will be out for the remainder of 2013 as well as the early part of 2014. “Fuji” was essentially handed the closer job in April after Carlos Marmol had one too many of his patented meltdowns, but perpetual “forearm” issues proved to be the harbinger of ill fortune. He’s obviously droppable everywhere but the deepest of dynasty formats. Kevin Gregg — while not an elite source of saves or ratios — has tightened his grip on the ninth a little bit more today.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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