Bullpen Report: April 9, 2013

• It wasn’t a save situation but Joaquin Benoit entered the game in the ninth today, giving up two hits and one run via a Colby Rasmus homer. The Tigers still haven’t officially announced a closer but it sure seems like the ninth inning, at least when not facing a tough lefty, belongs to Benoit. He hasn’t run away with the job only pitching to a 4.15/6.72/5.09 ERA/FIP/xFIP thus far but consider him the closer in Detroit until further notice.

Jason Motte has not been cleared to throw and won’t for the next couple of weeks. If Motte’s elbow doesn’t look better by early May he might be looking towards Tommy John Surgery , ending his season. This is obviously bad news for Motte but quite good news for Mitchell Boggs and Trevor Rosenthal owners. While the job currently belongs to Mitchel Boggs, if Motte is out all year I have a hard time believing Rosenthal’s arm will only be left to use in the setup innings.

For tonight, Rosenthal continued to set up Boggs, pitching a scoreless eighth with Boggs doing the same in the ninth. It wasn’t a save situation, but Boggs owners have to be pleased with the outing compared to last night (0.1 IP, 6ER).

Rafael Soriano tweaked his leg on Saturday in what was a “non-issue” but he struggled en route to his third save of the year today giving up two runs off of an Alex Rios homer. I’ll take Davey Johnson‘s word on the injury being a non-issue but Soriano hasn’t been all that great to start the year either with four earned runs in four and a third innings pitched.  While Soriano’s job isn’t in any jeopardy he’s also not as good as his 2.26 ERA last year would indicate and any potential injury concern regarding Soriano is certainly worth monitoring.

• Out of the closer role and inserted into the eighth inning, John Axford struggled tonight letting three Cubs reach base before leaving the game with bases loaded and one out. Alfredo Figaro relieved Axford and allowed all three inherited runs to score.Yesterday, Roenicke said that Axford will close again when he “gets his stuff back” and for now, Jim Henderson is closing and we might have to wait a little while to see Axford in the ninth again.

In the same game, Kyuji Fujikawa came in for the save and received his second save of the season and of his career. His job isn’t necessarily secure but like Axford, Marmol is a mess and Fujikawa will be getting saves in the near future at least.

• Sticking to what he said, Ned Yost went to Greg Holland for the save tonight. Holland was able to close the door but needed 27 pitches do it while allowing three guys to reach base.  As we all know, Kelvin Herrera is starting to breath down Holland’s neck as a 20.25 BB/9 won’t cut it for much longer. Still, a save is better than a blown save and Holland remains the ninth inning option for the Royals.

Closer Grid:


Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Heath Bell
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Eric O’Flaherty Jordan Walden
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Darren O’Day
Boston Joel Hanrahan Andrew Bailey Koji Uehara
CHI (NL) Kyuji Fujikawa Shawn Camp Carlos Marmol
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Jesse Crain Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sean Marshall
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Wilton Lopez
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel Phil Coke Bruce Rondon
Houston Jose Veras Wesley Wright Hector Ambriz
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Tim Collins
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Sean Burnett Ryan Madson
LAD Brandon League Kenley Jansen Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek Jon Rauch Ryan Webb
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Michael Gonzalez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Brandon Lyon LaTroy Hawkins Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Mike Adams Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Bryan Morris
St. Louis Mitchell Boggs Trevor Rosenthal Edward Mujica Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Carter Capps Stephen Pryor
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Jason Frasor Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Casey Janssen Sergio Santos Steve Delabar
Wash. Rafael Soriano Drew Storen Tyler Clippard

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

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When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

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That seems like a leap with Benoit… They had a five run lead. He’d be my bet for next save opp but the text is pretty strong.