• Andrew Bailey wasn’t too effective this evening, letting five batters reach base and giving up two runs en route to a blown save against the Yankees. In fact, since returning to the Red Sox from surgery on his thumb Bailey hasn’t really pitched well with a 5.05 xFIP in 15.1 innings pitched thus far. However, with only one game remaining in the season, I don’t think Bailey is in danger of losing his job in 2012 and should receive a save opportunity if one arises tomorrow night. Also, based on the Red Sox roster, it should be Bailey’s job to lose in 2013.
• Fernando Rodney wasn’t needed tonight since James Shields pitched a complete game, but Rodney did receive the save last night and is currently in line to have the lowest ERA in baseball history. Rodney’s 0.61 ERA and his overall performance in 2012 certainly came out of nowhere this year and while I don’t expect him to break any records in 2013, he should still rank among the top tier of closers next year.
• While he doesn’t have as shiny of an ERA as Fernando Rodney (since nobody in baseball history does), Jim Johnson does have the most saves in baseball, closing his 51st door tonight against the Rays. Johnson had a couple of blips in July where he gave up 11 runs in three separate outings, but beyond that he’s been consistent all year succeeding by killing worms (62.3% GB%) in lieu of swings and misses (5.37 K/9). With the Orioles still fighting for a possible division win, Johnson should be ready to go tomorrow.
• Aroldis Chapman picked up his 38th save of the year tonight against the Cardinals and looks to be back to form pitching in his fourth appearance since resting a tired shoulder in mid-September. Chapman won’t likely see any time tomorrow with the Reds already clinching a playoff spot, and one has to wonder if his outstanding season closing for the Reds will keep him in the bullpen in 2013, or if he will have a chance to start. Sean Marshall early season struggles didn’t land him the job but he’s a more than capable reliever pitching to a 2.47 xFIP this season with a 11.1 K/9. My money is on Dusty not wanting to mess with a good thing, but I hope I’m wrong as the world deserves a chance to see what he could do in 180 innings.
• John Axford‘s season has been about as up and down as they come, but he recorded the save for the Brewers tonight and now has 35 saves on the year. Axford’s 3.36 xFIP illustrates he hasn’t been quite as bad as his 4.74 ERA would suggest and after going 11/12 on saves in September, Axford is primed to start 2013 closing for the Brewers.
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: Joba Chamberlain (NYY) vs. BOS
Although everyone will likely be available for the Yankees with playoff implications possibly on the line, it’s worth noting that Rafael Soriano threw 44 pitches tonight and David Robertson has pitched in four of the last five games. Joba Chamberlain has been excellent of late, only giving up one earned run in his last 11 appearances, while striking out 13 batters in 10.1 innings pitched and should get a chance to continue his hot streak in game 162.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]