Bullpen Report: August 12, 2012

• The merry-go-round in the Milwaukee bullpen continues. One night after Jim Henderson allowed Houston to walk off with a win, the Brew Crew came upon a save opportunity and turned to someone other than Henderson, John Axford, and Francisco Rodriguez. Yup, Ron Roenicke turned to righty Kameron Loe to finish off the hapless Astros. Loe’s ninth wasn’t completely clean — he allowed a hit, committed his own error, and threw a wild pitch — but the end result was a scoreless performance. Loe has a pedestrian (for a reliever) 17.9% K%, but his stinginess with providing free passes (6.6% BB%) has helped guide him to an unspectacular, but solid, 3.54 xFIP in 2012. With Axford, Rodriguez, and (AAA) Henderson’s BB% all above 11%, Loe’s strike-throwing ways might be welcome relief at the back end of a messy bullpen. Loe is probably worth a pickup, especially for vultures, but the situation remains so murky and fluid that it’s a bullpen you’ll generally want to stay away from it if you can help it. It’s likely we haven’t seen the last shuffling of deck chairs on this sinking ship before the season ends.

• The Mets bullpen almost suffered a meltdown of epic proportions Sunday night as Josh Edgin and Frank Francisco nearly combined to blow a five-run, ninth inning lead before Jon Rauch came in and poured cold water on the fire. Francisco has now alternated good and bad performances each of the four times out following his return from the disabled list a couple weeks ago and remains the owner of pedestrian peripherals (2.33 K/BB, 4.23 xFIP). Rauch hasn’t been much better himself, however, only fanning 15.3% of the batters he faces (4.41 xFIP). Francisco’s velocity was down a tick or two in his first couple outings back, but it appears he has quickly climbed back to pre-injury levels, so, even with a couple hiccups, he likely still has Terry Collins’ confidence.

Casey Janssen finally got another save Sunday. “Finally” because it’s only Janssen’s second save since July 14th. Since Sergio Santos went down earlier this season, Janssen has been nothing short of phenomenal, posting a 1.31 ERA since the beginning of May. In addition, Janssen’s 2.95 xFIP and 4.2% BB% imply he’s almost every bit as good as that ERA number leads you to believe — his value has been somewhat suppressed in most leagues thanks to the fact that the Blue Jays have had the lowest number of saves in the majors this season. That said, he’s got the job locked for the rest of 2012 and might be a sneaky add if you can pry him away from a team frustrated with the lack of “SV” in the box score. Plus, the more he keeps putting up shut-down numbers, the more intriguing of a keeper candidate he becomes for 2013 and beyond.

• In your quasi-regular Andrew Bailey rehab report, he pitched 1 1/3 innings in AAA Pawtucket this afternoon, retiring all four batters he faced (one strikeout). Bailey has been reported working in the low-mid 90’s and is presumably pretty close to returning to the Boston bullpen. With Alfredo Acevesstruggles (especially recently), Bailey has a good shot to see the ninth inning sometime later this season and is a nice buy-low candidate in keeper leagues, especially now that his return from the disabled list appears to be imminent.

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: Addison Reed (CHW) @ TOR

Jake Peavy squares off against the struggling (and infirmary-clogging) Blue Jays in what should be an eminently winnable game for the White Sox. With Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista still on the shelf for Toronto, little in that lineup strikes fear into opposing bullpens.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second Off 25-Man
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Takashi Saito
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Eric O’Flaherty Jonny Venters
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Darren O’Day
Boston Alfredo Aceves Andrew Miller Mark Melancon Andrew Bailey
Chicago (NL) Carlos Marmol James Russell Shawn Camp
Chicago (AL) Addison Reed Brett Myers Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sean Marshall
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Tony Sipp
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Rex Brothers
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel
Houston Wilton Lopez Francisco Cordero Wesley Wright
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Kevin Jepsen LaTroy Hawkins Jordan Walden
LAD Kenley Jansen Brandon League Javy Guerra
Miami Steve Cishek Heath Bell Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Kameron Loe
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Alex Burnett Matt Capps
NY (NL) Frank Francisco Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson Boone Logan
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Josh Lindblom
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Juan Cruz
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Edward Mujica
SD Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer Brad Brach Huston Street
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Santiago Casilla
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Shawn Kelley Stephen Pryor
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney Kyle Farnsworth Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Mike Adams Alexei Ogando
Toronto Casey Janssen Brandon Lyon Darren Oliver
Wash. Tyler Clippard Drew Storen Sean Burnett

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

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There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

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Radio Raheem
Radio Raheem

Today’s usage pattern of the Frisco bullpen would seem to indicate that the closer gig is mostly Affeldt’s alone…