• Huston Street is going to be away from the Padres for the next couple of days to attend his grandmother’s funeral. Padres beat reporter Corey Brock seems to think that Luke Gregerson has the inside track on a couple of scab saves while San Diego’s incumbent closer is unavailable. While a trendy pick among handcuff setup men, Gregerson only has three saves to his name on the year, owing to Street’s general health. As usual, the right-handed setup man has posted a shiny ERA and an above-average xFIP. With a career .273 BABIP, you could make an argument that he may have some batted ball suppression skills (thereby implying his xFIP should be lower than it is), but he gives up an awful lot of line drives for that to be true. All that aside, Gregerson makes for an excellent target if you want to stream for saves the next couple of days. Pick him up now if those are what you seek.
• As commenter BMac noted last night, Bo Porter has decreed Josh Fields the Houston “closer.” I put “closer” in air quotes (imagine me doing the air quotes things with my finger right now) because, even with a bonafide ninth inning man, the ‘Stros only have 32 saves and their 5.13 bullpen ERA is far and away the worst mark in the majors (Mariners are second at 4.41). Fields should be owned in leagues where saves are still needed, but with a 4.01 xFIP (5.73 ERA) and the fact that he allows 60% of his balls to either be line drives or fly balls, there’s a strong possibility he hurts more than he helps in ERA and WHIP. Tread carefully if you are close in either of those two categories. It’s not a prudent move to lose ground in rate categories while trying to chase a few saves on a bad team.
• Ernesto Frieri tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth innings in Houston today, preserving a 2-1 victory for the Halos. After some shaky outings last month, he seems to have regained an upper hand on the ninth inning (although you never get too long a leash with Mike Scioscia). However, the Angel right-hander did throw 33 pitches today, so it’s possible he doesn’t get the save opportunity should one arise on Monday night against Oakland. Dane de la Rosa is the natural fill-in, but he’s thrown the last two days, too, meaning Kevin Jepsen could be an option in the ninth.
• Quick hits: Jim Johnson garnered save number 45 today, with Francisco Rodriguez and Tommy Hunter working the seventh and eighth innings before him. He’s pitched better lately and seems to be back in control of Baltimore’s pen. Mark Melancon got the save today. As discussed last night, Jason Grilli seems like he’s going to have to work out his kinks in a setup role, and it’s late enough in the season it might stay that way for the rest of 2013. Joaquin Benoit notched save number twenty during an overcast afternoon at Comerica. He’s taken the Detroit job and run with it, kudos if he’s the guy you speculated on in April and you held even during the Jose Valverde era.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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