Column favorite, Aroldis Chapman, who has been struggling with arm fatigue, threw a 25-pitch bullpen session yesterday and said he felt good. Well, that’s great news–but this late in the season? There’s gotta be a catch. In baseball, there’s always a catch. Roldy added that he thought he needed to throw two or three more sessions to get his command where he likes it. With the Reds large lead in the central there’s no reason for Cincinnati to rush him back. Sad to say, but in redraft leagues it might be time to part ways with The One Who Closes. (I know it’s hard). Best case scenario he returns for the final week of the season? 2 saves? Tops!? Pffft! (Actually, I could really use two saves right about now…) If you haven’t cut bait already, that roster spot could probably be better used elsewhere. Jonathan Broxton will continue to close in Chapman’s absence, and he’s filled in admirably. Brox grabbed his 2nd, 3rd and 4th save in a Reds uni Sunday, Tuesday and again on Wednesday night. Three games, three saves. I will certainly take that. If you’re really digging for saves, Sean Marshall might see a chance if Broxton pitches back-to-back days. Goodbye, Aroldis. We shall meet again — on my 2013 roster.
Ernesto Frieri blew his 3rd save of the season, giving up back to back homers in the ninth to spoil Zack Greinke’s shut out. Kevin Jepsen notched his 2nd save of the season Sunday in Frieri’s absence. Jepsen has nice numbers (2.95 ERA, 10.09 WHIP in 36.2 IP) but he shouldn’t be a threat to Er-nasty. Before Saturday, Frieri had appeared in 6 straight scoreless outings with 4 SVs and a win in that span. His 2.30 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 94 Ks (!) in just 58.2 innings on the year are pretty Er-nasty stats themselves.
Lots of closers were closing games this week! Here’s the quick rundown.
Seattle Storm Round: Craig Kimbrel officially replaces Chapman this year as “The One Who Closes,” he got his 38th save of the season and struck out the sid — what’s that? He didn’t strike anyone out? Whaaaa? Must be shoulder fatigue! SHUT HIM DOWN! Andrew Bailey converted his 5th straight save Tuesday night; more amazing is the Dead Sox managed to carry a lead into the ninth. Speaking of dead arms, Joe Nathan sat out the weekend with arm fatigue (it’s an epidemic! Quick hide your children!) and Koji Uehara got the one out save in his stead. Not much to worry about here though, Nathan returned last night to pitch a clean ninth in the non-save situation. John Axford had a typical “John Axford” outing, surrendering a home run to Andrew McCutchen in the ninth and still managing to escape with his 30th save. Not bad for a guy with a 4.83 ERA. Steve Cishek blew his second save in his last five Tuesday night, giving up 3 ER on 2 hits and a walk. However, he did manage his 14th save of the season Saturday. He’s been shaky lately but his 2.87 ERA and 1.34 WHIP should ensure Ozzie continues to go to him over Heath Bell. Kenley Jansen was set to return Tuesday night after missing time with heart problems, he was apparently available but Brandon League ended up with the save instead. The Dodgers will likely ease him back into the role, but he should be the closer by the end of the week. If he’s out there on waivers he’s worth the add if you need those saves. Huston Street is set to return sometime this week and should likely regain the closer job immediately. Bummer for Luke Gregerson owners, but I wouldn’t drop Luke just yet without seeing Street notch that first save back. Rafael Soriano grabbed his 41st and 42nd saves of the season yesterday, closing out both games of the doubleheader with little trouble. Hello, Rafael “Two Saves” Soriano. Very nice to meet you. I hope we meet again soon. I actually remembered Soriano doing the same thing (the double-save!) two years ago as a member of the Rays, but apparently they were resuming a suspended game so it doesn’t count. Either way, that is quite a fantasy gift right there. Cherish it.