• Jake Arrieta was four outs away from throwing a no-no before Stephen Drew singled and at 120 pitches, Pedro Strop came in to get the final out of the eighth inning. Hector Rondon entered for the ninth and pitched around a lead off single to record his 10th save of the season. Rondon has had a few flare ups of late but he’s still the Cubs closer and should continue to get save chances as they come, especially if he pitches more like he did tonight. However if he struggles again soon or is put on the trading block, look for Neil Ramirez to fill in for saves.
• Dellin Betances finally showed he was human allowing two-walks and an unearned run in the eighth inning tonight against the Rays. With the “off” outing Betances still supports a 1.69 xFIP with a 14.25 K/9 and remains the likely best non-save option in fantasy baseball. Robertson finished the eighth, allowing Betances’ inherited run to score and stayed on to throw a scoreless frame in ninth as well.
• Jake McGee entered tonight’s game with a one-run lead in the eighth and pitched around a couple of base hits for a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 1.24. Even though a couple of lefties were due up in the ninth, it was Joel Peralta who came on for the save that he quickly blew on a home run by an unlikely source in Brian Roberts. This is obvioulsy good news for McGee owners. He has received the last two save opportunities for the Rays and given Peralta’s performance tonight, I fully expect McGee to receive the next opportunity as well.
• There wasn’t a save situation in the Nationals game today but Drew Storen pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Tyler Clippard is likely next in line in the pecking order but Drew Storen is having a nice comeback season after a down year in 2013. His 1.03 ERA is likely to regress but Storen is keeping the ball in the park and avoiding the free pass. There are likely more exciting non-save options for strikeouts and even ratio help, but in Saves+Holds leagues, on a competitive Nationals team that should have a few leads to protect, Storen is certainly a sound option.
• Sean Doolittle has had an incredible season a forgettable June 30th. Doolittle started the ninth in a 4-1 game, but ended up allowing a grand slam walk-off homer to Rajai Davis for his third loss of the season. This was actually Doolittle’s second blown save in a row but even after tonight’s blowup, Doolittle still has an ERA under three with an insane 57/2 strikeout to walk ratio and remains a top tier closer in both real life and fantasy baseball.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]