Dale used to work down on the docks. Union was on strike, he was down on his luck. It’s tough. The Padres closer goes on the DL. Dale gets a job, converts every chance he gets for saves. For saaaves. What is that — are those not the lyrics? Irregardless! Fresh off heaps of praise from myself for his amazing 2012 campaign to date, Friar’s closer Huston Street suffered a strained calf and was placed on the DL. This is Street’s second trip to the disabled list this year and fourth time in the past two seasons. Seeing as he just got a contract extension, I imagine the Pads will play it safe with Street and give him all the time he needs to recover. Oh , really? Saves on the waiver wire you say? Perhaps. In the interim, Dale Thayer looks to see the majority of the save chances during Street’s absence. On Monday night, he nabbed the save pitching a scoreless inning and striking out a batter. “Hi, I’m Dale Thayer. You may remember me from filling in for Street earlier this year, and I should be a more than capable replacement.” Thayer sports a 3.51 ERA and 1.12 WHIP on the season with 30 Ks, and has been on a roll as of late. In 5.2 innings in August, he has surrendered just 1 hit and 0 ER. Dale Thayer won’t help your ratios the way Huston Street has, but he should be good for saves in the rare occasions the Padres actually give him a lead. Just to make things more complicated, Luke Gregerson could also be in the mix to see some save opps, and he’s actually been the better pitcher this season. “Better than Dale Thayer!?!” You say. But how!? Well, Gregerson hasn’t given up a run in over a month and has racked up 19 strikeouts in 18.2 IP. Cool Hand Luke also has 19 holds (6 in August alone) so Manager Bud Black might want to keep him in that set-up role where he’s been most effective. However, if you need saves,Thayer and Gregerson could be an adequate to decent options for the next 2-3 weeks until Huston Street returns. In the words of Mr. Bon Jovi, Pick up Dale Thaaayer, if you’ve got someone to drop. It doesn’t make a difference if you need him or not! He’s getting saves and that’s alright for now… So give him a shot!
Houston Astros’ closer Wilton Lopez or “WiL-Lo”, is unlike the similarly named movie about a brave little dwarf with a heart of gold. WIlton Lopez is not underrated. He’s rated just, right: last. But he is a closer, and for those of you who need saves, WiL-Lo should not be ignored and is a pitcher you unfortunately must at least consider. The biggest knock against Lopez is his team is so putrid, so pathetically pathetic that the chances of him actually seeing a lead are slim. However, since the Astros have actually managed to win 3 of their last 6 games (ALIENS!), he might finally be worth a look if he’s still out there. Since being named the closer August 1, WiL-Lo has 1.35 ERA with 9 Ks in 6.2 IP. He’s only notched a single save but he’s also only blown one save. Bright side, right? In his last two appearances, Wilton even grabbed two wins (one off a blown save, but whatevs!). I may joke a lot about poor old Wilton Lopez, the closer who Razzball ranks dead last, the closer on the team that’s ranked dead last, the closer who saved the world by protecting that magical baby from the evil Queen Bavmorda — but Wilton’s not without value. If you are desperate for saves (and I mean, Bubbs from the wire dope-fiend desperate) Wilton Lopez could be worth a look.
After converting the first two save opportunities of his career, Brewers reliever Jim Henderson seemed like the obvious candidate to take over the ninth inning duties for Milwaukee. However, Henderson took a page from the book of John (Axford) and blew his first save of the season last night in grand fashion, giving up 2 ER on 3 hits to take his second loss. Henderson’s rough outing followed Saturday’s appearance in which he came into a tie game to give up a run on 2 hits to take the loss. It appears that no one in the Brewers bullpen is physically capable of getting this job done. Oh Jim, it was fun while it lasted but it appears your days as a closer could be through. Interestingly enough, both John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez appeared in set up roles yesterday with scoreless appearances. Fantasy owners and Brewers fans alike are just waiting for John Axford to return to the form we know he’s been capable of in the past, and since no one has been pitching particularly well lately (oh the humanity!), I would imagine John Axford will once again get the next save chance here. Whether or not he’ll be up to the task is anyone’s guess.
The Red Sox have so much controversy these days why not have a closer controversy? Tuesday night, as the Sox bullpen was mopping up Josh Beckett’s mess, Andrew Bailey, the Red Sox pre-season closer, made his Red Sox debut in the 8th inning after a four and a half month DL stint. He walked one before recording a strikeout to end the inning. In 6.1 rehab innings at AAA Pawtucket Bailey gave up 6 hits ,1 ER, and struck out 10. Not bad. Not great. But current closer Alfredo Aceves has also been underwhelming in the role, however very capable for stretches. After blowing a save against the New York Yankees on July 29, Aceves had two more rocky performances in the series with Minnesota (3.1 IP, 6 ER) , but he seems to have gotten back to business over the past 3 games, recording 3 scoreless innings. Still, with the Red Sox “future” closer now hovering in a set up roll how long does Alfredo “Can I Get” A-Ceves really have left ? He currently holds a 4.14 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and is 23-for-29 in save chances. Would Bobby V. pull Alfredo from from the closer role in favor of Bailey, despite Aceves holding down the job for over four months of the season? Well, I bet if you ask Bobby’s players, they’d probably tell you, “Yes, absolutely he would.” But maybe they’re not the least biased source at the moment. As the Red Sox playoffs chances grow less likely by the game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Red Sox previewing their future closer at some point in the next month. Bailey will have to pitch well to to get his chance but with a career 2.07 ERA, and 0.96 WHIP and the much sought after “closer experience” ( 75 SVs in 3 seasons), there is reason to believe Bailey can do the job, quite possibly do it much better than Alfredo Aceves has, and the Red Sox could use a bright spot right about now. The job is still Alfie’s for the moment, but if Andrew Bailey is sitting on your waiver wire, he’s worth a speculative add if you’ve got the roster spot in case the Red Sox decide to make the change. It could happen sooner than you think.
Tampa Bay Lightning Round: Since Ozzie Guillen said Heath Bell could return as his closer last Wednesday, Bell responded as per usual by giving up 5 ER and 11 hits in just 2.1 IP. Don’t drop your Steve Cishek just yet. Speaking of Cishek, the San Francisco Giants bullpen remains the mess it was last week. Santiago Casilla continues to perform poorly and I’d expect Jeremy Affledt or Sergio Romo to get the next save chance. Also in the Bay Area, it looks like Grant Balfour will regain his gig as A’s closer. He pitched a scoreless inning on Saturday to grab his 8th save. Greg “Don’t Call Me Derek” Holland looks to have a firm grasp of the gig in Kansas City, he got his 4th save last night with a scoreless appearance striking out two. Jim Johnson had no trouble getting his 35th save against the Red Sox last night. Johnson’s 35 saves is second most in the ML, trailing Fernando Rodney who has 37. Why draft Mariano Rivera, Brian Wilson, Heath Bell and John Axford when you could have simply picked up the league leaders in saves, Fernando Rodney and Jim Johnson.