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Bullpen Report: April 19, 2014

Jose Valverde‘s days as closer might be numbered. Valverde entered the ninth inning tonight and gave up a three run homer to Justin Upton. Although none of Valverde’s runs were “earned” it’s the fourth home run he’s allowed in his last three outings. Papa Grande’s been able to miss more bats this year (13.5 SwStr%) but his gopheritis and control issues may have come to an end, at least as the closer. Via David Lennon Collins is going to “have to talk about Valverde as closer“, which means teams should look to add Kyle Farnsworth immediately. As of this writing a change has not been made but I’d expect Kyle Farnsworth to get the next save opp for the Mets.

Craig Kimbrel was removed from the ninth inning tonight with Jordan Walden closing out the game for his first save of the year. Kimbrel has struggled with shoulder fatigue recently and although he was iffy tonight, it doesn’t seem to be injury related as his fastball was still reaching 97-98 mph. I would attribute tonight’s outing due to rust over any huge injury concerns but would still keep an eye on the situation. David Carpenter received the previous save in place of Kimbrel but he was spotty tonight as well allowing four hits and two earned in his inning of work. It’s a toss-up on next in line in Atlanta but at this point I might side with Walden.

Jason Grilli blew his second save of the season tonight against the Brewers. Grilli’s velocity has been right in line with what it was last year but his control has suffered of late. Grilli supported a 2.34 BB/9 last year but it’s ballooned to 5.14 thus far in 2014. Grilli was fantastic last year but so was Mark Melancon in relief of Grilli when he was on the shelf. Grilli demands a long leash and I’m keeping him as green for now but it’s worth taking a look Melancon’s way. Melancon doesn’t have the strike out rates of some other premier set up options, but he’ll help your teams ratios (2.18 FIP). After taking the lead, K-Rod finished off the Pirates for his sixth save of the year. Although Roenicke wanted to get Jim Henderson back into the role, he’s struggled to get back to form in setup duty. Meanwhile Francisco Rodriguez has been one of the best relievers in the league (1.18 FIP). The Brewers are playing well and should be fighting for a playoff spot all summer long, at this point I don’t see them making a switch with K-Rod playing so well right now, I’m changing this situation to green.

• Chad Qualls blew the save for the Astros in particularly bad fashion, giving up three runs, including a Jed Lowrie home run while only recording one out in a loss to the Athletics.  Qualls’ has been a little unlucky early on this year as a .579 BABIP against is due for some regression but I’m keeping Josh Fields as first in line in this committee and moving Albers up a spot. However, as we have recommended all season, this might be a situation to avoid all together, nobody is a winner in the Astros closer carousel.

• Quick Hits: Trevor Rosenthal (4), LaTroy Hawkins (5), Kenley Jansen (6), Joakim Soria (3) and Greg Holland (6) all recorded saves tonight. Huston Street was unavailable after throwing 31 pitches last night and Joaquin Benoit notched his first save of the season for the Padres. And finally, Koji Uehara looks like his old bad self, striking out three batters for his fourth save of the season.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed J.J. Putz Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter
Baltimore Tommy Hunter Darren O’Day Ryan Webb
Boston Koji Uehara Edward Mujica Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Pedro Strop Hector Rondon Jose Veras Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Matt Lindstrom Daniel Webb Ronald Belisario Nate Jones
Cincy Johnathan Broxton Sam LeCure J.J. Hoover Aroldis Chapman
Cleveland John Axford Cody Allen Bryan Shaw
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Rex Brothers Matt Belisle
Detroit Joe Nathan Al Alburquerque Joba Chamberlain
Houston Josh Fields Matt Albers Chad Qualls Jesse Crain
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Joe Smith Kevin Jepsen Dane de la Rosa
LAD Kenley Jansen Chris Perez Brian Wilson
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jim Henderson Will Smith Brandon Kintzler
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jose Valverde Kyle Farnsworth Gonzalez Germen Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Shawn Kelley Adam Warren Dellin Betances David Robertson
Oakland Luke Gregerson Sean Doolittle Jim Johnson
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Kevin Siegrist Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Grant Balfour Heath Bell Joel Peralta
Texas Joakim Soria Alexi Ogando Jason Frasor Neftali Feliz
Toronto Sergio Santos Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Casey Janssen
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]