Bullpen Report: August 8, 2012

Jim Henderson earned his second career save in as many nights this evening as the Brewers clipped the Reds, 3-2. The 6-foot-5 right-hander was asked to close out the Reds after John Axford entered in the top of the eighth-inning with the Crew down a run. Axford sat down the Reds in order, but instead of the mustache running back out for the ninth after the Brewers claimed the lead, Ron Roenicke decided to use Henderson for the second consecutive save opportunity. It’s nearly impossible to get into the heads of the managers — especially those with unreliable bullpens — but I suggest adding Henderson now if you’re chasing saves, worry about definitive roles later.

Fernando Rodney, one of the more amazing bullpen stories of the 2012 season, picked up his league-leading 34th save tonight in a 3-2 Rays victory over the Blue Jays. Despite collecting his 19th consecutive save, Rodney served up a one-out homer to David Cooper that skyrocketed his ERA from 0.70 to 0.85 on the year. Cooper’s long ball was just the second allowed by the Rays’ closer on the year, and the first since May 26th. While most of us are getting a headache trying to wrap our mind around Rodney’s impressive season, the fine folks over at DRays Bay believe it could be attributed to the pitcher starting his delivery from the “extreme first base side of the rubber.” Why didn’t anyone on the Angels think of that?

Ryan Cook saved his 12th game of the season tonight for the Athletics, but yielded two earned runs in the process. In his last eight appearances, Cook allowed nine earned runs on 13 hits, resulting in his ERA jumping from 1.53 to 2.79. The recent struggles could be a result of his opponent’s batting average on balls in play (.180 prior to tonight) regressing towards his career mark of .226. His xFIP of 4.31 heading into Wednesday also suggests that more of the recent struggles could be on the horizon. For those worried about a possible change in Oakland, add Grant Balfour if he is available, but my guess is that Ryan Cook finishes with the most saves in Oakland from now until the end of the fantasy season.

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: Heath Bell (MIA) vs. NYM

Josh Johnson and R.A. Dickey will go head-to-head tomorrow in Flushing Meadows, in what could arguably be the most fascinating pitcher’s duel of the day. With the potential of a close game parlayed with recent news that suggested Heath Bell could see the next save opportunity,I would take a chance with Bell tomorrow, who could come cheap in daily leagues.

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 John Axford Jim Henderson Francisco Rodriguez
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 Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle Grant Balfour
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Josh Lindblom
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Jared Hughes
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Edward Mujica
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt
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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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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Bell will probably get the next Marlins’ save opportunity.