Bullpen Report: July 30, 2012

• The Rockies haven’t been able to give many save chances to their closer Rafael Betancourt who’s had a solid year pitching to a 3.62 xFIP with a 9.24 K/9 and they may not have many more opportunities as Betancourt trade rumors are heating up.  Troy Renck lists Oakland, Atlanta, Toronto, Texas and the Anaheim part of Los Angeles as possible suitors for Betancourt and if he’s traded, Matt Belisle or Rex Brothers could take over closing duties for Colorado. Rex Brothers may have more potential and the better swing and miss stuff (11.90 K/9; 14.1% SwStr%) but he’s a lefty and I’d expect Matt Belisle to get the first nod. Belisle has been one of the more underrated relievers over the last few years and has continued to excel this season with a 2.98 xFIP in 53 innings pitched.

• Over the weekend Colin noted Jim Johnson‘s recent struggles and although he let two batters reach base tonight against the Yankees he was able to strike out two en route to his 31st, and major league leading, save of the season. With the expanded playoffs, Baltimore is still in the race so Johnson’s job is still relatively secure but he can’t afford any more six run blow ups like he had last week.

Frank Francisco is currently on the DL but that might change soon as he’s now planning on returning to the Mets this weekend against the Padres. Although Francisco had converted 18 of the 21 save opportunities he received for the Mets, he didn’t pitch particularly well with a 4.97 ERA and 4.21 xFIP. Bobby Parnell blew a couple of saves in a row a few weeks ago, but besides that he’s been great for the Mets with a 3.06 xFIP on the year. My money is on Francisco regaining the job for the Mets, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Parnell get another chance before the season’s end as Francisco has been both injured and inconsistent while Parnell has pitched better.

• Bad news for Luke Gregerson owners this week as Huston Street signed a two-year $14 million extension with the Padres. Street was obviously in trade rumors the past few weeks but his extension ensures that he will at least stay on the Padres for the remainder of 2012. Gregerson has been a reliable reliever to help your ratios (3.17 xFIP; 1.14 WHIP) but any value he had for potential saves is now gone.

• Pitching in the seventh inning tonight against the Brewers, Francisco Cordero gave four hits and two runs and his time as the Astros closer might be over. As of this writing, no change has been made but Wilton Lopez would make a nice pick up right about now. Cordero has appeared in five games for the Astros this year and so far he’s blown three saves while giving up eight runs.

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: Ernesto Frieri (LAA) at TEX

It’s never a bad decision to avoid pitchers in Texas but with Jered Weaver on the hill the Angels have a great shot at a win. Frieri is also well rested having last pitched on Friday, so look for him to have a chance for a save and strikeouts against the Rangers.

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 Sean Marshall Jose Arredondo
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Tony Sipp
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Rex Brothers
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel
Houston Francisco Cordero Wilton Lopez Wesley Wright
KC Jonathan Broxton Greg Holland Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Kevin Jepsen Jordan Walden
LAD Kenley Jansen Javy Guerra Ronald Bellisario
Miami Steve Cishek Heath Bell Edward Mujica
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez John Axford Jose Veras
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Alex Burnett Matt Capps
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch Ramon Ramirez Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson Boone Logan
Oakland Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle Grant Balfour
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Jared Hughes
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Marc Rzepczynski
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Javier Lopez
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Brandon League Shawn Kelley
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney Kyle Farnsworth Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Mike Adams Robbie Ross
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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When he’s not focusing on every team’s bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben’s Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

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League was just dealt to the Dodgers.