We’re reaching the point of the baseball season that feels like the Bastogne episode of Band Of Brothers depicting the Battle of the Bulge. We’re running out of everything, can’t help the injured, and hold our breath that disaster isn’t looming. It’s also the turning point. Ground gained now will decide who’s in for the stretch run. The ever-changing saves landscape is a big part of that. Get in a foxhole with someone you can trust.
- Anthony Bender the Bending Robot is making his bid to take over the Marlins closer gig. He started out his season with 22 straight scoreless innings and has only allowed runs in only 1 appearance out of 25. The 26-year-old rookie is aptly named without a wipeout slider even in the face of grip enhancement crackdowns. I worry a bit that the league catches up to him but relievers get by fine with two good pitches and some guile. I’m just going to assume he enjoys booze and cigars in the likeness of his Futurama namesake until proven otherwise.
- Things continue to go sideways for Aroldis Chapman and the Yankees. Long balls and blown saves abound. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an IL stint in the near future. Chap’s usually good for at least one mid-season breather these days. If you rostered him you have to hope that’s enough to get him right.
- The Phillies bullpen curse continues, despite Gabe Kapler being nowhere near it for almost two seasons. Maybe they built the bullpen on cursed land. Jose Alvarado’s rock solid season went south after some ninth inning action. Hector Neris did his typical Neris pumpkin thing. Archie Bradley is allergic to the ninth. Something called a Ranger Suarez notched the latest save for Philly. That’s maybe a tad facetious, Suarez has been very solid this year. His peripherals aren’t much to write home about, though. Call it a cluster of a committee.
- Scott Barlow looks to have outlasted his KC competition and may be the go-to for the ninth.
- David Bednar seems to be feeling the flow. He’s got an 11.2 K/9 and the ERA is heading in the right direction. Folks had some pre-season excitement for the strikeout artist. He was a little raw to jump into the closer gig, even on Pittsburg. If Richard Rodriguez gets moved Bednar is only a Kyle Crick stumble from seeing saves now, however.
12 $16 Salads
You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.
Kenley Jansen (Blake Treinen, Victor Gonzalez)
Alex Reyes (Giovanny Gallegos)
Aroldis Chapman (Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga)
Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkeycorns.
Will Smith (Chris Martin, A.J. Minter)
Matt Barnes (Adam Ottavino, Darwinzon Hernandez)
Richard Rodriguez (Kyle Crick)
These guys are the men that make the save market go round. They punch in, punch out. Have the job, no real threat to speak of, and are basically just there to collect great benny’s so they can take care of their crippled brother. Who is only really crippled because he is scared of the sun.
James Karinchak/ Emmanuel Clase
Diego Castillo/J.P. Feyereisen/Peter Fairbanks
I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Carlos Marmol– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Castro in the head with a pick-off throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.
Amir Garrett/Brad Brach/Heath Hembree/Art Warren
Paul Fry/Cole Sulser/Tanner Scott