Bobby Valentine opted to go with Andrew Bailey over Alfredo Aceves for the save on Friday night. Initially, I thought it was because Alfie had thrown 37 pitches the night before, but Aceves disagreed. No, this time it was personal. So personal, in fact, that Alfredo let his feelings be known that night and got into a shouting match with the Red Sox manager. Bobby V. will put up with a lot of things but yelling is where he draws the line and Aceves was handed a 3-game suspension. Red Sox Nation rejoiced. They had seemingly gained a new closer, Bailey, and lost a Josh Beckett all in the same night. But Aceves was reinstated Tuesday night, Andrew Bailey had the night off after pitching the 4 days previous, it was the perfect storm allowing Alfredo to step back into the closer role he so desired, this time for a six-out save. We all knew how this would end. In typical, Alfredo “I Can’t Get A Simple” A-ceves, he gave up 2 ER on a hit and a BB to blow the save, his 8th blown save of the year and ninth loss. Manager Bobby Valentine insisted post game that roles had nothing to do with his decision, and Alfredo was simply the only pitcher available, “Now we had but one choice. We must face the long dark of an Alfredo Aceves outing.” (Obligatory Gandalf quote, because I know we’re all huge “fantasy” fanatics). In short, we may have seen the last of Alfredo Aceves getting sauced in the ninth inning, ie. drop Aceves if you own him, and add Bailey everywhere. The writing is on the wall, and that writing says, Alfredo is done-zo and Andrew Bailey is the Red Sox new closer.
Oh, John Axford. I feel like I’m covering every week in these posts, and not in the good way like mentioning Aroldis Chapman and his supreme godlike closerness. After another ugly outing on Friday where Axford appeared in a save situation but surrendered 2 ER on 2 BB and 2 hits before being pulled in favor of Kameron Loe. Loe had little trouble converting the save, and the speculation began but Loe and behold, Manager Roe Roenicke went back to his boy Axford Tuesday night to close it out, and then again on Wednesday. John managed to grab his 21st and 22nd saves pitching scoreless innings in both appearances. It’s worth mentioning that Kameron Loe appeared in a relief role Monday night, so there is little doubt that John “Oh, the humanity!” Axford is still the closer in Milwaukee whether you like it or not. If you are hunting for saves, I guess you’ve gotta stick with Axford, but with that miserable 5.14 ERA I’d just hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Ronald Belisario notched his first save of the season Wednesday afternoon, pitching 1.2 innings and surrendering 2 hits filling in for the injured Kenley Jansen. Jansen was unavailable due to a heart condition that also plagued him last season. In other words, Kenley probably owns John Axford in his fantasy league and it’s finally starting to get to him. Jansen owns a 2.54 ERA and 0.88 WHIP on the year and the Dodgers will likely be extra cautious with their hard throwing finisher. Belisario has performed well in the set-up role this year (2.75 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 47 Ks in 52.1 IP) and will likely get the first crack at save chances until LA figures out how they’re going to proceed with Jansen. Alternately, Brandon League could possibly see some save chances. Although Belisario has clearly been the better pitcher statistically, Mattingly may decide to go with experience over skill (League saved 9 games for the Seattle Mariners earlier this year). Regardless, that new look Dodgers squad is primed to win some games and Belisario or League could be a cheap source of saves in the interim.
Congratulations go out to Dale Thayer on his new baby. Awwwwwww! Wook at his widdle feet! He’s gonna be a soccer player! Well, no one was quite as happy for him as Hot Hand Luke Gregerson, who took Thayer’s paternity leave as an opportunity to snatch his job away. Luke and the other Jedi’s had been training for this moment, and as expected he excelled right off the bat recording two straight saves on Sunday and Monday. From the looks of it, he should have been filling in for Street from the start. In 13.0 IP in August, Gregerson has not surrendered a run, and has struck out 13 and walked just 3 batters. However, and in particular in Luke’s case, where there is a bright side there is always a dark side, and San Diego’s long term closer, Huston Street, will be returning from the disabled list Sunday. Womp womp. Gregerson could possibly see a few more save opportunities before being relegated back to set-up on Sunday, especially with the Padres playing so well, but this is the end of Luke’s days as the closer. It was a fun, albeit brief, ride, Luke. Huston hit his head on the rail, Dale vomited twice, but you held on strong — and I won’t forget that.