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Washington Nationals: Another turn on the closerousel for the Nationals, as Henry Rodriguez is no longer taking the ball in the 9th. BiBi showed the world on Wednesday that Davey Johnson was wrong for demoting him by allowing a homerun and walking a batter without recording a K. Tyler Clippard locked the door Tuesday with a clean outing and a K, picking up the save. He’s in the pole position for the job and has the skills (13.2% career swinging strike rate, 2.97 career ERA) to keep it until Drew Storen or Brad Lidge return. Sean Burnett has had slight issues with right-handed bats in his career – a near even walk-to-strikeout rate and a FIP/xFIP a full run higher than against LHB – and may grab the odd save based on matchups or if Clippard is used on consecutive days. Craig Stammen has flourished in his transition to the bullpen, but hasn’t been used in many late-inning situations as of yet and is likely third in the pecking order.

Cincinnati Reds: Sean Marshall continues his 2+ years of dominance by putting up career bests in K (31.4%), BB (4.4%), and GB (59.1%)… oh, and his .476 BABIP led to several blown leads and Aroldis Chapman inheriting Marshall’s post in the Red regime. Viva La Revolution! Chapman has struck out 43 of 91 batters faced and owns a 0.42 FIP this season. Those are not typos. He struggled throwing strikes last season and still put up a 3.60 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP. He may well end this season with an ERA under 1.50 and a sub-1.00 WHIP. Word is that Chapman doesn’t like pitching in back-to-back games; Marshall will get a save opportunity in such a situation.

Chicago White Sox: Robin Ventura has officially named Addison Reed the closer for the Pale Hose. Reed’s lowest K% in the minors was 34.2% – he’s the best pitcher in the White Sox bullpen and will package his saves in a bundle of strikeouts. Expect his walk rate to drop a little as an added bonus. Jesse Crain looks to be the add if Reed falters.

New York Yankees: Joe Girardi indicated Wednesday that Rafael Soriano will be the closer even when David Robertson returns from the DL. Soriano is missing fewer bats and throwing fewer strikes than last season, so if you own Robertson, enjoy the Ks and wait until Soriano lights himself on fire.

Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim Orange County: Ernesto Frieri has struck out 37 of his 82 batters faced this season, and 19 of 32 since joining the Angels. Scott Downs has sat down 7 of 50 batters on strikes. I did the math, it says Frieri should be owned. He obviously won’t continue to strike out 3 of every 5 batters he faces, but he’s a better pitcher than Downs and as soon as Downs has a rough inning I think Frieri officially gets the nod.

Chicago Cubs: Rafael Dolis farted liquid from the mound again Wednesday, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks before getting pulled. Kazaam! He throws his fastball 90% of the time and sports a K/BB ratio of 10/13. I’m amazed he’s even in the big leagues. James Russell is next in line for saves for now, and he possesses a 15/10 K/BB mark in 21 innings. That counts as sparkling on the Cubs. I honestly think Carlos Marmol falls back into the job when he comes back from the DL, and would be the only Cub I’d own at gunpoint. The entire Cubs bullpen is an unmitigated disaster.

Arizona Diamondbacks: J.J. Putz was hosed on what should have been a called second strike and a thrown out runner at second base, but alas, he surrendered two walks and a double, blowing his third save of the season Tuesday night. His velocity was 90/91 MPH for the night, and he’s had trouble with first pitch strikes this season (51.5%, down from 65.9% last season). He’s throwing total strikes at near career rates, and batters are chasing more of his pitches out of the zone than ever before; Putz’s problem is that hitters are teeing off on pitches in the zone, making contact at a 92.2% clip (86.5% last season). Assuming his velocity drop was a one night issue, I think he’ll regain his command and be fine. His struggles seem like statistical noise at this juncture.

San Francisco Giants: Brandon Crawford cost Madison Bumgarner (and me) a win by booting a groundball, and Santiago Casilla (and my opponent) picked up the win in extra innings. No breaking news here, just wanted to reveal how petty I am. Sergio Romo is a better pitcher, but arm issues prevent him from handling an every day workload, thus Casilla is the man for the Giants.

  1. AJ says:
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    Here’s some math:

    Scott Downs has a sub-2.00 era and a sub 1.00 WHIP cumulatively across the last 3 seasons (2010-2012), with no platoon splits. I’m sorry, but Frieri is quite clearly not a better pitcher than Downs despite what your 2012 small sample size says.

    And before you start throwing Downs’s FIP out there, Downs has demonstrated in a very large sample size that his true talent level BABIP is well below league norms.

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @AJ, The same argument for batted balls could be made for Frieri, as well. 130 IP isn’t a very large sample size, I trust the guy who makes batters miss over the guy who doesn’t.

  2. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    Just wondering where you saw the quote that Soriano would remain closer when Robertson gets back. I hadnt heard that and would be interested in knowing your source.

      • RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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        @Feeding the Abscess, Thanks. But I dont necessarily read that as a firm commitment to Soriano when Robertson is back, myself.

        In the end I think we agree that Soriano is likely to crash and burn eventually, though.

        • A Hill O' Beans says:
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          @RandomItalicizedVoice, Yeah I don’t read anywhere there where Girardi says that Soriano will be the closer when Robertson comes back, or even hints at it. He says Soriano is closing for him right now and he doesn’t want to talk about what happens when Robertson comes back.

          • jack says:
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            @A Hill O’ Beans, I deduced from the quotes that DRob will get a shot only if Raf really falters. It’s a question of how much room for error he is granted. Two bad outings? Three?

            DRob has been great in the 8th but showed a lack of nerves in the 9th. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Drob also will be brought back slowly given the potential of re-injury

            Raf was a top 5 closer in the past when he had that role. Why expect disaster? Don’t let your love for Drob skew your perception of facts!

            • jack says:
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              @jack, sorry that wasn’t meant for you mr beans, but the chatter above

            • RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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              @jack, Why expect disaster? 1) Soriano is injury prone. 2) Check Soriano’s stats from last year. IMO, he’s not the same pitcher that dominated for TB, at this point.

              • jack says:
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                @RandomItalicizedVoice, He was injured last year, so doesn’t really count that much (39 innings total). Plus looks like he dominated in last months of the season. He had a horrible start to 2011 as he pitched while injured. Still kept a 11% swinging strike rate … I don’t like that it is down to 9% this year.

                But, through his career, he has always pitched better when pitching the ninth. It’s partly a motivation thing with him I think.

                He entails some risk for sure, but he’s not in the Marmol/HRod etc class of risk. I’d put him higher than Perez/Valverde class as well (in terms of collapse potential). Has the potential to be 2nd tier, if not first. Right now I’d say he is lower 2nd tier, higher third.

  3. Wake Up says:
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    I agree with you on Putz. It’s also worth noting that D. Hernandez already has 3 BS…

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Wake Up, Yeah, the DBacks pen has been pretty bleh

  4. wakeNbake says:
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    Someone dropped Berkman in my league… is he worth holding until we find out more about his knee?

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @wakeNbake, If you have the space, yes. Surgery was delayed until tomorrow, we’ll know more by the weekend.

  5. Jah says:
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    Feel pretty lucky having been rolling with Betancourt, Hanrahan and Jensen (with Santos DL’d) all year and haven’t been a victim of the Closepocalyse.

    I’ve got 5 starts left this week, 6 to choose from:
    Gallardo @ARI (Kennedy)
    J.Johnson v.SF (Lincecum)
    Morrow @TEX (Holland)
    Bumgarner @MIA (Buehrle)
    Scherzer @MIN (Pavano)
    Darvish v.TOR (Drabek)

    I chase K’s but W’s are big point boosts in my H2H points league. Scherzer is the odd man out, right?

    • jack says:
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      @Jah, I’d sit Morrow. Only about 5 guys I wouldn’t sit in TX.

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Jah, Yeah, I’d say so. Morrow has the far tougher matchup, but he’s been more consistent and has been striking guys out again.

  6. Ryan says:
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    Stuck with Lester…killing me..
    Doesn’t look good
    Would u give up now and try to package with a hitter to upgrade at starting pitcher
    Lester and Chris young for Peavy?too much?
    Could I get lee with Lester,Seager,and Chris young?

    • A Hill O' Beans says:
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      @Ryan, I’ll gladly give you Peavy for Lester and Chris Young!

      And yes, I think you should aim a little higher :)

    • Hunter says:
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      @Ryan, If you really want Peavy, I’d think Lester for Peavy straight up would be fair. Peavy has better performance, but is almost guaranteed to spend some time on the DL. Lester has worse performance, but should trot out there for at least 180 innings.

      Also, if you’re determind to include Young, I’d wait till he started hitting again before trading him. Right now, he’s devalued because he hasn’t hit since coming back from the DL. Unless you’re convinced he’s going to suck RoS you shouldn’t sell him now, as you’d be selling low.

  7. RTP says:
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    Been holding onto Daniel Bard for 3 weeks waiting for him to pitch his way out of the rotation and back into the bullpen.

    More saves rest of the way… Bard or Marmol?

    • A Hill O' Beans says:
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      @RTP, Marmol hands down.

      • Son of a Beachy says:
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        @A Hill O’ Beans, Marmol, and it’s not even close. Aceves has been lights out in Beantown since his early season blowups.

  8. Jamiehov says:
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    The nats situation is interesting. The word on local radio yesterday was, Clippard was only in because he didn’t pitch the night before and not to expect him to be the closer. They also said that he’s been petitioning for the job for quite a while.

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Jamiehov, Interesting. Thanks for the info.

  9. Shawny says:
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    Hultzen was dominant last night- time to stash?

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Shawny, If you’re in a deep league and there are no streaming options on the wire, sure.

  10. Hunter says:
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    Room is a slightly better pitcher than Casilla, but Casillia is no slouch, either. Have the teams in MLB would weep tears of joy if Casilla was their closer.

    It’s arguable that with Romo as the setup guy, he’s being more valuably used in higher leverage situations.

    Of course, this is Bochy, so we know he’s not thinking that way, but it’s funny how such a stupid decision making process probably actually lucked him into the right decision.

    Of course, I’m a Casilla owner….

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Hunter, Casilla is helped by his park, but you’re right, he’s not a slouch. He and Downs are pretty similar, even down to having K machines behind them.

  11. Mike says:
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    Who has better production ROS ?
    A platoon of Craig/Adams or Eithier
    Looking to trade Eithier high for a top starter
    Thanks!!

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Mike, Ethier

  12. I like baseball says:
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    I’m seriously concerned about Zimmerman. I think his shoulder is worse than he’s letting on, and he’s not going to have any power this year.

    Can someone talk me out of trying to trade him for Edwin Encarnacion?

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @I like baseball, E5’s batted ball profile says the HR are real, but the batting average is going to fall. Maybe try to get someone in addition to E5 if you want to move forward with that deal.

      • I like baseball says:
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        @Feeding the Abscess, Thanks. How about: I give Pence and Zimmerman; and get Holliday and E5?

        • Hunter says:
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          @I like baseball, As an E5 and Holliday owner, I laugh at that deal. If you can pull it off, though, big coup for you.

        • Feeding the Abscess

          Feeding the Abscess says:
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          @I like baseball, Worst the other owner can say is no

  13. TheNewGuy says:
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    No Al anymore? Seamless transition anyway Absess, nice job.

    Would you bother dropping Walden for Russell? Waldens been a real disappointment losing his job so early, but I invested a fair amount in him so have been hoping he gets a chance again.

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Thanks!

      Yeah, Russell’s closer to saves than Walden at this point.

  14. MrHappytime says:
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    Streamer for tomm, pick one. Burnett vs Cubs, Chen vs Orioles, or Detwiler @ Braves? Help me out here! Thanks

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @MrHappytime, Burnett

  15. Patrick says:
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    Was offered Lincecum (R3) and Hosmer (R5) for Price (R5) and Rizzo (R12) in a keeper league – to keep a player you have to give up your pick in the round they were drafted in. This is a no brainer, right?

    My thinking is Lincecum is going to right the ship, Hosmer’s BABIP is going to come up, and Rizzo will be sent down after interleague play to keep another year before FA. Should I take the deal?

    • Hats for Bats says:
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      @Patrick, I think Lincecum’s best days (++ speed) are behind him whereas Price is hitting his prime. Losing your 5th round pick versus Lincecum’s 3rd, I say go with Price. Hosmer had a decent year last year, but sophomore slump this year and Rizzo is reigning death and destruction upon the PCL.

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Patrick, I wouldn’t want Lincecum at round 3

  16. Hats for Bats says:
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    I just traded away Jeter, Hanson, Haren and Nathan and got back Han Ram, Wainwright and Wei Yin Chen. Trade negotiated prior to Wainwright’s shutout. Then I found Smyly on the FA list and grabbed him. Should I be feeling good about myself?

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Hats for Bats, Missed Haren’s shutout!

      You definitely upgraded at shortstop, though.

  17. Dude says:
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    @Feeding the Abscess, how would you rank these teams in terms of likelihood their closer is traded by all-star break? Hou, Ariz., SD, Pitt, ChiNL (i.e. Marmol)? Thx

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @Dude, Hou, Ari, Cubs, Pitt, SD

  18. TheNewGuy says:
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    Thanks for the response above about the Walden/ Russell question. Seems closers are much more riskier players to draft higher as all it takes is one managers decision and then they’re practically worthless- with a starter at least you generally know what you’re getting unless they get hurt. I drafted Walden for 7 bucks expecting a solid no2 closer, what a waste he’s been. Now im gonna have to cut him.

    Does show once again you shouldn’t pay for saves! Get them cheap at the end of drafts (J Johnson, C Perez etc) and then stay glued to the wire all year long!

    • Feeding the Abscess

      Feeding the Abscess says:
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      @TheNewGuy, No problem!

      SAGNOF!

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