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Bullpen Report: August 9, 2012

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.

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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.

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.]