• Andrew Bailey struck out two batters in a scoreless inning of work today for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox of the International League. In doing so, Bailey achieved one of the essential goals of his rehab assignment prior to returning to the Red Sox — pitching on back-to-back days. In five rehab outings, Bailey has surrendered just one earned run while posting a 9.0 K/BB. The Red Sox reliever isn’t quite sure where his next stop will be, but based on his successful rehab appearances, “he can’t see it being much longer.” In his stead, Alfredo Aceves has done a fine job, nailing down 23-of-29 save opportunities with a 4.21 ERA (4.32 xFIP) and a 2.43 K/BB. However, Aceves’ recent struggles — two blown saves and an 11.57 ERA in the last week — could mean that Bailey will be eased back into the closer’s role sooner than later.
• Chris Perez, and his fantasy owners alike, breathed a sigh of relief at the conclusion of tonight’s appearance in Cleveland. Perez pitched a clean ninth-inning on 13 pitches to earn his 30th save of the year against the Red Sox. The successful outing came on the heels of two consecutive blown saves in which the righty surrendered six earned runs. The “saves vultures” began plucking Vinnie Pestano off the waiver wire this week hoping they could benefit from Perez’s recent misfortune. Unfortunately for the vultures, these two recent outings were just a small bump in the road for the Indians’ closer and should not overshadow the fantastic season he is putting together. On the year, Perez is 30-of-34 in save chances with a 3.89 ERA and a 4.18 K/BB.
• Jason Motte yielded a walk, but struck out two Giants en route to earning his 25th save of the season tonight. Motte came with the heat in the ninth, as he usually does, using his four-seamer that topped out at 98 mph to strikeout both Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez. The Cardinals’ closer is quietly putting together a nice year — 25 saves with a 2.53 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and a 3.6 K/BB.
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: Jim Henderson (MIL) vs. HOU
The Brewers were off on Thursday, which means Jim Henderson got some rest after successfully converting his first two career saves on consecutive evenings. There appears to be a good chance Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke could go back to Henderson to close out the Quad-A Astros if Milwaukee is in position, given the Crew’s unstable bullpen this season.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]