As Boston fans did for a year and a half, Dodgers fans now get to question the heart of their star first baseman, Adrian “I Don’t Run, Cuz’ I Don’t Care” Gonzalez, but it turns out it was LA’s closer, Kenley Jansen, whose heart has been the most questionable. Now on blood thinning medication, Jansen pitched a successful bullpen session yesterday and the Dodgers are aiming for his return sometime between September 17-19th. Ugh. And you know what the worst part is? (besides the obvious health concerns, ours hearts go out to you here, Kenley!) With the expanded rosters there’s no chance, barring a set back, that he even ends up on the DL. Sigh, he’s just sitting there on your roster doing nothing, while you’re in the midst of a playoff race. I know that 2.54 ERA and 0.88 WHIP is real nice, but time to drop this motha like a hot potato (not to be confused with “hot schmotato” who you’ll most likely want to pick up, see Friday’s exceptional BUY/SELL column). Kenley MAY return to a handful of save opportunities, what with 10ish games remaining on the Dodgers schedule, but that’s probably not worth the roster spot at the moment if your in the postseason hunt. I’d pick up Ronald Belisario or Brandon League in that order, they are expected to share the closer role but I like Belisario a bit more as he’s performed better this season (2.54 ERA 1.02 WHIP) and is currently riding a streak of 10 straight scoreless appearances. Don’t get me wrong, League should see a fair share of the chances as well, and after a brutal first half of 2012 he’s finally starting to hit his stride, but after that first half failure he just seems like a heart attack waiting to happen and god knows the Dodgers have enough heart problems.
Although there is no official timetable, San Diego Padres closer Huston Street is expected to return from the DL around the same time as Jansen. Interim closer Luke Gregerson blew his first save since inheriting the role, giving up a home run to Andre Ethier Monday night. It was his second straight appearance in which he gave up a home run, but the force is strong with this one and he nabbed his 4th save of the season Tuesday night with little trouble. Gregerson also entered a save situation on Wednesday, but after retiring the first two batters, Manager Bud Black elected to go with the lefty Tom Layne. This was likely just a match ups play and I still believe Gregerson will get a number of save chances before Huston Street returns. If he’s on your DL, I’d hold onto Street a little longer if you can, but in the meantime Luke “Wait–You’re my sister!? Nooo!” Gregerson should be owned everywhere, especially with the Padres winning games (ALIENS!), but don’t be surprised to see Layne get some situation chances, and even Dale Thayer could still be in the mix. San Diego has no reason at this point to rush Street back into action, so if you need saves, look for Luke on your waiver wire.
The Boston Red Sox haven’t had a lot of save opportunities, or a lot of anything, since Andrew Bailey officially unofficially took over the gig from Alfredo Aceves last week. But Tuesday night he finally got his chance, and after giving up a triple he settled down to record his second save in a Red Sox uniform. The Red Sox look pretty bleak right now, but Andrew Bailey is a bright spot, a shining star, and with career numbers as good as his (2.04 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) he could be a big boost to your fantasy bullpen in the final weeks of the season. He should be owned everywhere by now, but if he’s out there now’s your chance to grab him.
Carolina Hurricanes Round: Steve Cishek blew his first save since inheriting the job, and he did it in grand fashion, surrendering 3 ER to the Mets. However, he was able to get the save Monday night facing just one batter. Fortunately for Cishek, his job is safe, because Heath Bell is still terrible. Since blowing 2 save chances to start August, Chris Perez has converted 5 straight opportunities. He dedicated his 33rd save of the season Tuesday night to his new baby girl, to which she responded, “Gurgle…spit..gaga…barf.” Awww, she’s just like her daddy. Matt Capps is aiming for a return before the end of the season, but most of you have probably forgotten who that is, and I can’t blame you there. J.J. Putz blew his second save in 2 days Tuesday night. He’s probably got a longer leash than that, seeing as the D’Backs are ready to renew his contract, but David Hernandez is the add here if you’re in a speculating mood. Column regular John Axford has looked a bit more like the closer he was last year this past week. He’s recorded a win and 4 saves since last Thursday, and now has 6 straight scoreless appearances with 5 saves in that span. He’s as shaky as they come, but he sure seems to get plenty of save chances with 25 saves total despite his struggles. Craig Kimbrel had a special 4-out “Kimbrel” appearance, walking just one and striking out four. ALL HE DOES IS STRIKE PEOPLE OUT! He, that goes by the name, Aroldis Chapman, the one who has traveled across the sea to the States to become the one who closes better than all before him. He who provides plentiful saves to the people. Aroldis be his name. He of the 0.35 ERA and 0.67 WHIP since the All Star break, along with 24 saves and 46 strikeouts in just 26.2 IP. The One Who Saves captured his 35th save of the season Tuesday to become leader of the League of Nationals. Next–the world. Oh Aroldis, let us pray someday you will come and save us all. Amen.