Bullpen Report: August 22, 2012

• Former closers around the league busted down their manager’s door this week demanding they be returned to ninth-inning duties. Well, maybe that was just the John Axford approach — but hey, it worked. On Tuesday, Ron Roenicke signaled for the “mustached one” out of the pen with two down in the ninth. Axford strolled to the bump and induced a Welington Castillo ground out to earn his 19th save of the season. Milwaukee’s manager called on Axford again on Wednesday to seal a 3-2 victory over the Cubs, and he did just that. The right-hander struck out the side while allowing just one single en route to his 20th save on the year. Axford is available in 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

• The Padres selected the contract of Tom Layne last week from Triple-A Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League. Layne, a 27 year-old career minor leaguer, recently reinvented himself as a situational reliever in order to get “the call.” Layne adjusted his arm angle and moved from the third base to the first base side of the rubber to create difficult angles for left-handed batters.

So far, so good. In five appearances since being promoted, Layne is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0.46 WHIP) and a 8.0 K/BB. The lefty entered in the ninth-inning today and retired the middle of the Pirates order (Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez and Pedro Alvarez) to earn his first major league save.

Bud Black admitted he went to Layne given interim closer Dale Thayer has worked the previous two days, so besides the inspiring story, I don’t think there is much to see here.

J.J. Putz nailed down his 25th save of the season tonight in a 3-2 Diamondbacks victory over the Marlins. The mighty efficient year rolls on for the Dbacks’ closer, who is now 25-of-28 on the season and has earned saves in each of his last 16 chances dating back to May 22nd. Putz is now the owner of a 3.02 ERA (0.98 WHIP) and a 6.0 K/BB in 43 trips to the hill.

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: Jonathan Papelbon (PHI) vs. CIN

Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto will take the hill tomorrow for the Phillies and Reds respectively, in what is easily the pitching duel of the day. Papelbon took the loss on Tuesday against the Reds, surrendering a ninth-inning moonshot to Zack Cozart. Redemption will likely be on the right-hander’s mind tomorrow should the Phillies be in save situation. Papelbon is 27-of-30 in save opportunities this year with a 2.86 ERA and a 5.08 K/BB.

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 Bailey Andrew Miller
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 Scott Downs 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 Chris Resop
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Edward Mujica
SD Dale Thayer Luke Gregerson Brad Brach Huston Street
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Santiago Casilla
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Stephen Pryor Charlie Furbush
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney Joel
Kyle Farnsworth
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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In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, TheFantasyFix.com and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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Look, uh, you’re a really nice chick, but, um, I’m not homeless. I’m Tom Layne.

Colin Zarzycki

Way too late, but I approve of the gratuitous AD drop.