Out of the fire and into the Frieri pan, or as the Sciosciapath would say, buffet Thursdays. Ernesto Frieri has imploded you ratios the past 10 days and has been put into a closer-by-committee type situation. This is ungood for fantasy purposes twofold; first no one wants to roster the remaining parts of the Angels bullpen, namely Dane de la Rosa or the like. Second, after he has taken a steaming pile of feces on your team, do you really want Frieri to remain. Well Daniel Bryan is currently a yes man so think of him on opposite day. The Angels best option to take the job is currently back in the rotation; Garret Richards was doing swell in the pen until the Angels were sucking fumes in the first 6 innings of games and needed some youthful infusion. So now we are stuck in a CBC holding pattern until Frieri figures his hiccups out or some one like “Chaka” Kohn or the loosely translated “damage of the rose” emerges. Stay tuned or don’t, I have plenty of Dipsy Doodles to occupy my time.

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So down goes a top ten guy in an off week where I talk about set-up guys. Jason Grilli is beset with a forearm strain and up steps the league leader in Holds, Mark Melancon. Melancon has been spooktacular this year, and if wasn’t owned prior to the injury then your league is hot garbage. Sorry, but truth is truth. So the pecking order in the ‘Burgh now reads like this, which really isn’t devoid of good RP this year. I see Tony Watson and Justin Wilson splitting the left-handed set-up duties and Bryan Morris and Vin Mazzaro to continue their RH dominance. If given the opportunity, Victor Black could be brilliant, so keep an eye on him. Not one guy is going to run away and garner the hold chances that Melancon has gotten to date this year so it is going to be a mish-mosh of hold chances. Also factor in that the Pirates are in some trade rumors for some end game help and the rosterability of all these guys is tough to call until we know how long Grilli is under the weather. Enjoy the week to come.

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So the All-Star break has come and swept us away and now its onto the last 19/32 of the season. The chase for saves is becoming more and more concrete as the season grows, and the closepocalypse of 2012 is just a great conversation starter, just like super storm Sandy. The list of reliable closers with concrete gigs is growing and the rankings this week show a reflection of that. There is a huge have and have not factor going on, it’s either reliable and tried and true or it’s a 2 AM special where you’re trying to convince her to give you a Bryant Gumbel. The top of the list remains stout and the names are fairly consistent, it’s just getting to be a very swanky restaurant and the salad menu is expanded to accommodate more guests…so to speak. So enjoy the ensalade and don’t forget to ask for the endless breadsticks.

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So team success helps everything, from team building exercises to a secret program that siphons money into a bank account at fractions of a penny at a time. Whatever works, works, but at the end of the day the stats are what matters. Take for example the Texas Rangers’ bullpen. The trio of Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Jason Frasor are getting it done minus the flair. They have combined for 17 Holds in the last 30 days and are tied for the AL lead in Holds with 50. Earlier in the year, I was asked the best strategy for NSVH, and I said the best way is to grab a top 10 closer and 2 middle relievers from the same team. This is why this theory makes all the sense. Take a resurgent Cotts, who has dominated batters to a BAA of .187. “It’s Murda.” Thanks Ja Rule, for having nothing else to do. Throw in Scheppers and as of late a rejuvenated Frasor and you have a nice drunk punch of goodness for a Holds factory. Holds are a streaky stat, take a look at Mark Melancon, he is still leading MLB in holds only because he had 14 thru the first 30 days. The leader since then? Hmmm I betcha I just mentioned him above… Tanner Scheppers with 8. Enjoy the week to come.

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Friends
How many of us have them?
Friends
Ones we can depend on

So it dawned upon me that, in the Whodini song, “Friends”, can be replaced by any good word, from your favorite lady parts to my personal favorite, relievers. That’s the hard part, reliability. The reliability of a great conversation with say, and in this instance, a Bartender. Who just happens to be in the news again this week. Tom Wilhelmsen is back, as was inevitable. I mean, come on, Ollie Perez, really? Really? Eric the Wedge has seen the light and by hallelujah from up above realized the error of his ways. Now, he wasn’t laying blame on anyone, though I think it may have been Radames, at least that’s what my boy Bishop was sayin’. So, not if, but when he gets back, what has he learned, walks need to come down, K’s need to come up. Shot specials or a bucket special wouldn’t hurt either. Tom Will needs to forget that month long stretch where he was about as good as a 12-pack of Schafer light. I have some confidence, but the chances will be limited as the Marginers have only had 1, yes I said 1, save opportunity in the last 14 days. Hooray for stats. Stick around for some other tidbits and rankings. Oh and Enjoy the glorious celebration of our nation’s birth.

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So at the middle post of the real year, the ever-changing scenarios that are closers continue to fire on. This week I am going to speculate on some popular names that have been bantered about in trade rumors so far and add in some of my own because that’s what hippies do, we give. This week marks the return of Chris Perez and Rafael Betancourt, soon to displace Rex and Vinnie, so sad. It was so much more fun writing their names than the dog smokers and the pride of Isaac Newton College (True statement — go look it up). Now both of these guys may be coming up later in my trade speculator, because I think they are a good mix of hot garbage and tradeable commodity. Sorta like a great combo of mayonnaise and milk…yum. This year I have a gut feeling there will be a glut of trades involving current teams’ closers making the waiver wire a cavalcade of shenanigans. If nothing else, it leads to some good conversation, some yelling and maybe some new-un-found friendships. So shall we get on with the speculating..I think we shall.

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So, the eventuality of Chris Perez’s return to the back end of the Indians bullpen has hit a not foreseen bump in the road. I bet he blames this on his dog also. I mean it had to be Fido getting lit up in the minor leagues and Fido’s fault for his shoulder to not be up to snuff after his stint on the DL. I mean everyone has blamed their homework on the poor species, but now…well you get the gist. So Vinnie and the Italian Jets are in a hold mode on your roster; is it just me or does Perez’s return feel like opening a present on Christmas and you already got it from someone else. I mean, who needs two Blu-Ray copies of Mannequin 2? So I am predicting a semi longer DL stint for Perez and then a return, followed up by another DL stint. Predicting is fun, especially when you get judged by a group of your peers, persecuted for it, and then banished to the basement with no food or drink for a week. Enjoy this week’s tidbits.

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So Donnie Baseball finally read all those free pamphlets that Mensa has been sending him.  I mean it was written on the urinal wall next to that for a good time call, insert Nick Capozzi’s home phone number, message on your favorite swill factory you frequent.. 

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Another week, another 2 temporary save mongers join the closing fray. Luke Gregerson and Rex Brothers, of Emmett Otter fame, took over for Street and Betancourt respectfully. Gregerson has been one of the the best relievers over the last 5 years, and should be a prime target in another month or so at the deadline for teams desperate for bullpen help. Brothers is in a different situation, he is the heir apparent. Closing situations are about as funny as my mail going to Chris Perez’s house. Speaking of which, he should be back very shortly and Vinnie really did a Tazawa in his role there, garnering zero saves. Also coming back this week will be Jim Henderson, who will take his role back without any questions asked. That sorta sounds like strong arming, but maybe that’s just me. So enjoy the week to come and don’t be shy. Not you, the other guy, about asking questions.

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Every good conga line needs a caboose, so the Miami Save Machine is bringing up the rear this week. Feel the rhythm of the beat getting stronger. No? Me either. Moving on. The Midwest is getting mauled by injuries, it’s like that time the flu virus swept through the cast of Laverne and Shirley, you know the one where the Big Ragu, sneezed on everyone and it spread all the way to Squiggy and Pop. Well I guess I am the only one that remembers that stuff. Chris Perez, and not to be outdone, Jim Henderson, both came up lame just in time for the Belmont Stakes, looks like horse meat is back on the menu. Perez’s shoulder came up gimpy after his pitching came undone over the last week. He is expected to take a week off, try to throw and then work on curling his mullet. Vinnie Pestano is the heir in Cleveland, he himself isn’t healthy, and personally I have stashed Cody Allen everywhere in preparation of the H, for hurt.

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