We don’t play favorite closers here in the closer column but Aroldis Chapman is without a question my favorite closer. Just days after capturing the league lead in saves Chapman imploded last Friday night giving up 3 ER on 4 hits to the lowly Astros and blowing his first save since June 24. Ho hum, just chalk that one up as a bad day and move on. But no, Aroldis struggled again Monday night and was pulled from the game after uncharacteristically walking three batters. It wasn’t just the walks, ‘Roldy (can I call you Roldy?) was showing decreased velocity, consistently throwing 93-94 mph fastballs, and topping out at measely 97 mph. Pfft! Even my grandmother can throw 97 mph! Fun fact: my grandmother is Randy Johnson. (Not true, but they do look very much alike). You know a guy is a stud when he’s throwing in the mid-90s and the trainers are concerned he’s got a dead-arm. The Reds will rightfully play it safe with their godlike One Who Closes and Chapman will get a few days off to rest his fatigued arm. It’s possible Cincinnati will completely shut him down until the postseason, but for now it looks like he’ll only need just a few days so I wouldn’t drop him just yet. Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall and J.J. Hoover look to benefit during Chapman’s recharging period. I’d pick up Broxton everywhere if you need saves as Dusty announced he’ll be the no.1 candidate for saves while Chapman’s on the shelf. Marshall held the job earlier in the year and has had fairly mediocre results (9 saves in 13 chances), but Brox looks to be the front runner to claim the gig in the interim as he’s got more of that “closer experience” (108 career saves) the managers go crazy for and he got the first save chance Tuesday. J-Brox recorded the easy save in what was his 10th straight scoreless appearance and his first save in a Reds uniform. Dusty also mentioned they would try not to use Broxton more than two days in a row. Perhaps some guilt after burning out Chapman’s arm? Regardless J.J. Hoover grabbed a save last night. It was Hoover’s first save of the year but likely his last. Despite the stellar numbers from J.J. (2.08 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) I imagine Broxton and even Marshall are both ahead of Hoover in the bid for save chances. Since moving to the NL, Jonathan Broxton has a 3.00 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, with 13 Ks and 8 holds. Not exactly Chapmanlike numbers, but perfectly serviceable and Jonathan Broxton, as long as he’s getting saves, should be on owned until Chapman returns.
Luke Gregerson grabbed his second save in as many days with the back-to-backer. It was Luke’s 7th save since being given the gig in Huston Street’s absence, and his 5th straight scoreless appearance. Although it appeared for a moment that the ‘dres would use a committee to close out the games, Luke has “forced” his way into the role collecting 7 saves in the past two weeks. That is serious fantasy value in the finals weeks of the season. San Diego won their fourth straight game yesterday, and with the Padres winning games (ALIENS!) Luke “Let Me Show You My Lightsaber” Gregerson should be owned everywhere until Huston Street returns from the disabled list.
J.J. Putz was unavailable to pitch Tuesday and Wednesday with a stiff back and David Hernandez saw his chance to step up big and prove himself to the Arizona fan(s). D-Her could be a instant add if Putz expects to miss any more time. He was able to notch his 3rd and 4th saves of the year on Tuesday and Wednesday night for the back-to-backer and has a sweet 2.43 ERA with 1.02 WHIP along with 90 strikeouts. If you are speculating for saves, David Hernandez could be a great pick up while Putz is nursing his sore back.
Iowa State Cyclones Round: Carlos Marmol converted his 18th straight save chance yesterday. He’s had a rough patch but he eventually nailed down the closer job and has be pretty valuable. Maybe now the Cubs can get some team to trade for him. After giving up 2 ER to start the ninth Tuesday night, Grant Balfour was pulled for Jerry Blevins, who escaped the game with two men on and got all 3 outs with just 8 pitches for the save. Blevins has nice numbers, 2.51 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 50 Ks in 57.1 IP, but to add to the controversy it was Ryan Cook who got the save last night after Sean Doolittle gave up a bomb to Alby Pujols. It was a a simple one-out save, and it wasn’t a save situation until Doolittle gave up the homer, so I wouldn’t drop your Grant Balfours just yet. With the Oakland Moneyballs on an unstoppable train to the playoffs, this bullpen situation is definitely one to monitor. Javier Lopez got his 7th save of the season Tuesday night after Sergio Romo failed to convert the save opportunity. Romo gave up a two-run homer to Tyler Colvin before being pulled in favor of Lopez. Unless I’m desperate for saves, this is a bullpen I want no part of. Although the Dodgers have not been generating many save chances, Brandon League seems to be the pitcher to own. As far as closer experience goes, you could even say he’s in a different…League. LOL. Although I originally speculated Ronald Belisario would get chances, League has received the last 2 shots at the ninth and I’d expect that to continue until Kenley Jansen is ready to return.