***MLB closer report updated 6/9/11 @ 12:28 AM CST***
***6/8/11***Casey Janssen (2.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 1 S) becomes the sixth Blue Jays pitcher to earn a save chance in 2011 and converts his first of the season in a wild, 9-8 victory over the Royals. Janssen wasn't so smooth on the way to his eighth career save giving up a run on a pair of hits, but he got it done. Add his name to the mix at the back of the Blue Jays bullpen. It would appear any one of five different relievers could get saves chances moving forward.
***6/8/11***Craig Kimbrel (3.19 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 18 S) blows his fifth save in an eventual 3-2 Braves loss to the Marlins in 10 innings. Kimbrel gave up two runs on a walk and two hits in the ninth, but he did strike out the side while throwing 28 pitches. Jonny Venters fans will say Venters deserves to be the Braves close with his stellar numbers, but the reality of the situation is Kimbrel is near the league lead in saves and pitching well on most nights. The Braves will continue to trot him out there as long as he's performing well most nights. That said, Venters, a lefty could easily earn the job if Kimbrel falers. With Eric O'Flaherty, another lefty, available to set up in his place, Atlanta is covered if a change is ever needed.
***6/8/11***Sergio Santos (2.10 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 11 S) drops his second loss as he allows the Mariners to get past the White Sox, 7-4 in 10 innings. Santos worked the top of the 10th in a tie game and surrendered the three runs on three hits and a pair of walks. It was just Santos' second bad outing of the season, but both have been real clunkers. Much of the time he looks like a No. 1 closer, but then there are nights like tonight. Consider Santos a high-end No. 2 option with potential for great upside.
***6/8/11***Matt Capps (4.50 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 8 S) suffers his third blown save in his last four chances as he coughs up the lead in an eventual 3-2 Twins victory over the Indians in 10 innings. Capps entered the ninth with a one-run lead, and after retiring the first two batters, he offers up a home run to Jack Hannahan. Capps did earn the win after Chris Perez gave the lead right back in the bottom of the inning. Phil Dumatrait earns the save for the Twins, but he owns just one hold in nine innings. That means he's highly unlikely to make a run at Capps job. Joe Nathan is Capps' biggest threat, and Nathan remains on the DL. Consider Capps a low-end option for saves in fantasy play. He's not pitching terribly badly, but he's gone just eight for 13 in save chances on a bad team.
***6/8/11***Chris Perez (2.70 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 15 S) stumbles to his second loss of the year in a 3-2 Indians faltering at the hand of the Twins in 10. Perez gave up a double and RBI single in the ninth inning. Most troubling, however, continues to be his lack of dominance in terms of strikeouts. With no strikeouts today, his K/9 is weak: 5.0, and his K/BB rate is just 1.1. He's still incredibly difficult to hit (.226 BAA and .268 BABIP), but those numbers are elevated over his career averages a touch. Over the course of the season things should even out for Perez who is still 15 for 16 is saves chances, but right now he's no better than a higher-end No. 2 closer.
***6/8/11***J.J. Putz (2.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 17 S) surrenders his second blown save in three chances in the 10th inning as the Diamondbacks eventually lose to the Pirates, 3-2 in 12 innings. Putz entered with a one-run lead but gave up two hits, including an RBI single to Neil Walker to blow the lead. Putz did strike out two Pirates and remains a high-end No. 1 option as a closer.
***6/8/11***Brandon League (4.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 17 S) saves his eighth straight game in a 7-4 Mariners win at the White Sox in 10 innings. League hasn't allowed an earned run since way back on May 13th, and his ugly start to the season is almost forgotten. He's working his way up the ranks as a legitimate No. 2 closer right now, thanks in great part to the Mariners' winning ways.
***6/8/11***Ryan Madson (2.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 14 S) is still perfect in saves chances - now 14 for 14 - in a 2-0 Phillies win over the Dodgers. Madson worked a shutout ninth after a run on two hits the last time out. The long-time setup man appears poised to emerge as a No. 1 closer, but he's not quite there yet. Three messy innings in his last eight leave a little to be desired, even if he's perfect in saves chances.
***6/8/11***Kyle Farnsworth (1.17 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, 13 S) finishes off his eighth straight save in a 4-3 Rays win over the Angels in 10 innings. Farnsworth continues to roll like never before in the closer role. He'll fall back to earth eventually, so peg him as a No. 2 closer for the time being.
***6/8/11***Kevin Gregg (2.96 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 12 S) posts his fifth straight save in a 3-2 Orioles win over the Athletics. Gregg has looked good over this recent stretch, but his WHIP is still sky-high. He can only be trusted as a low-end option for saves, or as a emergency No. 2 if needed.
***6/8/11***Carlos Marmol (3.21 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 11 S) bounces back from a pair of blown saves with his first save since May 29th in a 4-1 Cubs win at the Reds. Marmol did not record a strikeout, but he does go 1-2-3 in the ninth for the first time since May 12th. Marmol tends to have plenty of up-and-down moments, but he's good enough to be trusted as an above-average No. 2 closer.
***6/8/11***Mark Melancon (1.78 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 6 S) puts together his fifth straight save in a 4-1 Astros victory over the Cardinals. Melancon worked a one-hit, shutout ninth for his sixth save. There's news that regular closer Brandon Lyon will be brought along slowly once he returns from a rehab assignment. That means Melancon can still offer fantasy owners value into next week with regard to saves.
***6/8/11***The White Sox recall Lucas Harrell (9.00 ERA, 2.50 WHIP, 0 S) to fill the injured Jake Peavy's roster spot. Harrell will work out of the bullpen in long relief.
***6/8/11***The Yankees place Joba Chamberlain (2.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 0 S) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 6th. Chamberlain is suffering from a right elbow flexor strain. He had been one of the better fantasy options in terms of setup men. The Yankees will likely turn to a committee approach with both Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano (5.40 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 1 S) out.
***6/8/11***Alfredo Aceves (3.29 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 1 S) earns his third career save in an 11-6 Red Sox blowout of the Yankees. Aceves worked 3 2/3 innings for the save and gave up one run. He's done a nice job in multiple roles for the Red Sox, but closing games will not be asked of him.
Current list of MLB closers and candidates for the 2011 season. Closers are listed at the top under each team name. Their competition follows. This list will be updated throughout the regular season:
Juan Gutierrez - 15-day DL as of May 24, 2011 (Right shoulder inflammation)
Sam Demel - 15-day DL as of May 22, 2011 (Right shoulder tendinitis)
Joe Paterson (L)
Zach Kroenke (L)
***6/4/11***J.J. Putz (1.80 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 17 S) bounces back from his first blown save to file away No. 17 in a 2-0 Diamondbacks win over the Nationals. Putz continues to put together an all-star-type first half to his season. The last time he made the Midsummer Classic was 2007. Putz is looking like a sure-fire No. 1 closer and can be considered one of the game's elite once again.
Jonny Venters (L)
George Sherrill (L)
Eric O'Flaherty (L)
Peter Moylan - 15-day DL as of Apr 15, 2011 (Lower back strain)
Kris Medlen - 15-day DL as of Mar 27, 2011 (Recovery from right elbow surgery)
***6/7/11***Craig Kimbrel (2.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 18 S) cruises to his seventh straight save in a 1-0 Braves victory over the Marlins. Kimbrel looked dominant. He fanned the first batter he faced and allowed just a two-out walk before getting Chris Coghlan to loop a liner to short to end the game. Kimbrel hasn't allowed a run now in five straight outings. He's worked seven straight saves without blowing a single game. Kimbrel can be considered a low-end No. 1 closer at this time, although that save total of 18 is second-best in baseball. Kimbrel doesn't have much room for error with Jonny Venters and arguably the best bullpen in baseball backing him up.
Michael Gonzalez (L)
Clay Rapada (L)
Kevin Gregg (3.09 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 11 S) completes his fourth straight save in a 4-2 Orioles win over the Athletics. Gregg worked a t ninth with two strikeouts, throwing nine of is 14 pitches for strikes. He hasn't allowed a run since May 20th and still sports an ugly 1.69 WHIP. That's all you need to know. Gregg may be on a run of good luck, but bad luck is always lurking with this low-end saves option.
Boston Red Sox:
Franklin Morales (L) - 15-day DL as of May 26, 2011 (Strained left forearm)
Rich Hill (L) - 15-day DL as of Jun 2, 2011 (Sprained left elbow)
Tommy Hottovy (L)
Dennys Reyes (L) - restricted list
***6/7/11***Jonathan Papelbon (4.50 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 12 S) converts his seventh straight save in a 6-4 Red Sox win at the Yankees. Once again, Papelbon coughs up a run - the fifth time that's happened in his last seven outings. This time he walks the leadoff man and yields an eventual RBI single to the light-hitting Jorge Posada. Don't criticize Papelbon, too much, though. Posada produced three hits on the night, and Papelbon struck out two Yankees in the frame. While some have Papelbon on watch with the young and talented Daniel Bard producing stellar numbers (and throwing a shutout eighth), consider that Papelbon also reached a milestone on this night: his 200th save. Papelbon is the fastest ever to that mark, which means his track record is second to none in terms of volume of saves. That alone means his job is safe, even with the recent struggles. Papelbon also appealed his three-game suspension for this past weekend's ejection which leaves his status as active until the process concludes. Continue to view Papelbon as a No. 1 closer.
Sean Marshall (L)
John Grabow (L)
James Russell (L)
Brian Schlitter - 60-day DL as of Mar 22, 2011 (Strained right flexor pronator)
***6/5/11***Carlos Marmol (3.33 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 10 SV) surrenders to the Cardinals in the ninth for his fourth blown save in a 3-2 Cubs loss in 10 innings. Marmol struck out a pair of Cardinals but allowed Ryan Theriot to double in the tying run before getting the final out of the inning. It's Marmol's second blown save in five days. He sees his ERA jump from 1.17 a week ago to the low-to-mid threes. Marmol is looking like a No. 2 closer at this time due to his inconsistency and the poor starting pitching the Cubs are routinely throwing in front of an otherwise setup group.
Chicago White Sox:
Matt Thornton (L)
Chris Sale (L)
Will Ohman (L)
Tony Pena - 15-day DL as of May 28, 2011 (Right elbow tendinitis)
***6/6/11***Sergio Santos (1.24 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 11 S) makes good on his 5th straight save in a 3-1 White Sox victory over the Mariners. Santos went 1-2-3 in the ninth with a strikeout giving him 6 1/3 no-hit innings since blowing his only save of the year on May 20th. Santos also yielded his only runs in that outing. His only blemish is a rather high walk rate (4.5 BB/P entering Monday). It's not much a problem, however, as he's well over a strikeout per inning and has limited opponents to a mere 13 hits in 29 innings. Santos' stuff looks outstanding, and despite his minimal track record he's emerging as a must-own fantasy closer. Elite level? Perhaps.
Bill Bray (L)
Sam LeCure - 15-day DL as of May 23, 2011 (Strained right forearm)
Jeremy Horst (L)
Aroldis Chapman (L) - 15-day DL as of May 16, 2011 (Left shoulder inflammation)
Jared Burton - 60-day DL as of Mar 29, 2011 (Right shoulder inflammation)
***6/3/11***Francisco Cordero (1.65 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 11 S) makes it back-to-back converted saves in a 2-1 Reds win over the Dodgers. Cordero is a bit of an enigma at this time with his sparkling numbers and yet just 11 saves. He doesn't strike batters out like he used to (6.6 K/9 in 2011), and his three-year numbers suggest he won't return to the double-digit K/9 he had produced for his career previously. The Reds stand just two games over .500 at this time, meaning he's been partially limited by his teams play in terms of chances. Cordero should be regarded as a high-end No. 2 closer at this time. He can rack up big saves numbers if the Reds go on a run.
Rafael Perez (L)
Tony Sipp (L)
***6/7/11******6/7/11***Chris Perez (2.42 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 15 S) nabs his 10th straight save in a 1-0 Indians win over the Twins. Perez punched out Michael Cuddyer to end the game with a strikeout. His strikeout rate (5.24 K/9) is concerning, especially considering Perez's walk rate is almost identical (4.84 K/9). He is, however, getting the job done with 15 saves in 16 chances. If Perez can improve on those numbers he has a shot to become a No. 1 closer in fantasy play. Until then, he's hovering as a mid- to high-end No. 2.
Matt Reynolds (L)
Rex Brothers (L)
Matt Daley - 15-day DL as of Jun 1, 2011 (Right shoulder inflammation)
***6/6/11***Huston Street (3.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 16 S) produces back-to-back saves for the first time since May 20th in a 3-0 Rockies shutout of the Padres. Street fans two batters and goes 1-2-3 in the ninth, and that gives him 2 1/3 innings of spotless frames over his last three outings. Street is now strikeout out 8.4 batters per nine innings. He manages to find a bumpy road here and there, but overall he's a solid play as a No. 1 closer.
Brad Thomas (L) - 15-day DL as of May 11, 2011 (Left elbow inflammation)
Daniel Schlereth (L)
Charlie Furbush (L)
David Purcey (L)
Adam Wilk (L)
Joel Zumaya - 60-day DL as of Mar 30, 2011 (Right elbow inflammation)
***6/1/11***Jose Valverde handles save No. 14 in a 4-2 Tigers triumph over the Twins. Valverde, who recently worked three saves in two days thanks to a weekend double header, was less than brilliant. He walked two Twins including an intentional pass to Justin Morneau, but he got out of the inning unscathed. In fairness, Valverde is pitching more like a No. 2 closer right now, but he's got the saves total and the overpowering stuff that fantasy owners love to see.
Mike Dunn (L)
Clay Hensley - 15-day DL as of Jun 2, 2011 (Sprained right shoulder)
Randy Choate (L)
***6/3/11***Leo Nunez (3.54 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 19 S) scuffles to his second blown save and second loss of the season in a 6-5 Marlins loss to the Brewers. Nunez served up a two-run homer to pinch hitter Ryan Braun in the ninth inning, which could happen to any closer. Nunez entered the game with a 3:1 K/BB ratio and a MLB-leading 19 saves. He has enjoyed one of the better stretches of his seven-year career over the first two months of 2011. His job is very much safe despite the second blown save, but his status as an elite or even No. 1 closer should be in question moving forward. Nunez' numbers suggest he'll fall back to the pack over the remainder of the season and serve more as a high-end No. 2 closer.
Brandon Lyon - 15-day DL as of May 5, 2011 (Right biceps tendinitis & rotator tear)
Enerio Del Rosario
Sergio Escalona (L)
Alberto Arias - 15-day DL as of Mar 22, 2011 (Recovery from right shoulder surgery)
***6/7/11***Brandon Lyon (7.15 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, 4 S) continues to progress in his attempt to return from a biceps issue and partial rotator cuff tear. A perfect inning at Triple-A in his first rehab stint is a step in the right direction. There's no guarantee he returns to the closer role in Houston with Mark Melancon outpitching Lyon's early-season work, but he'll at least stand next in line for a guy that's never been a bullpen stopper in the past.
Kansas City Royals:
Tim Collins (L)
Everett Teaford (L)
Henry Barrera - 60-day DL as of Mar 13, 2011 (Right elbow sprain)
***6/6/11***Joakim Soria (5.33 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 7 S) picks up his 4th win in a 3-2, 11-inning Royals win over the Blue Jays. Soria threw a stress-free 10th and 11th inning giving him five straight innings of no-hit baseball. Soria owns just a single strikeout over those frames, but it's a positive trend compared the the previous three blown saves he stumbled thru from May 24th thru 30th. Soria is more than capable to bounce back from his setbacks, but while he's pitching for a sub-.500 Royals team with lackluster numbers Soria is climbing back from low-end closer status. Aaron Crow managers will be upset to learn that Soria has reclaimed the team's closer job while Crow never even sniffed a save chance. Crow has the superior numbers this year, but track record falls heavily to the Soria side of this closer battle.
Los Angeles Angels:
Scott Downs (L)
Hisanori Takahashi (L)
Francisco Rodriguez - 15-day DL as of May 10, 2011 (Sore right shoulder)
***6/4/11***Javy Guerra (3.24 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 1 S) earns his first MLB win in a 4-1 Dodgers triumph over the Reds in 11 innings. Guerra is in the mix for saves in a battered Dodgers bullpen, but he's perhaps too erratic to get many chances (5.4 BB/9 in AA). Vicente Padilla is expected back off the DL soon and will likely take over the interim closer role for the Dodgers while Jonathan Broxton is on the shelf.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Jonathon Broxton - 15-day DL as of May 4, 2011 (Bone spur, right elbow)
Hong Chih Kuo (L) - 15-day DL as of May 10, 2011 (Anxiety disorder)
Vincente Padilla - 15-day DL as of May 14, 2011 (Right forearm discomfort)
Kenley Jansen - 15-day DL as of May 29, 2011 (Right shoulder inflammation)
Scott Elbert (L)
***5/20/11***Mike MacDougal faces just one batter to record his first save of 2011, a 6-4 Dodgers extra-inning win over the White Sox. With the Dodger bullpen in flux due to the absence of injured closer Jonathan Broxton and setup man Vicente Padilla, McDougal is a fringe option for saves moving forward. Matt Guerrier actually started the inning for the Dodgers but couldn't get through. Fireballer Kenley Jansen provides a third option until Padilla returns, which should be back on May 29th. Any fantasy waiver-wire Dodgers bullpen pickup should last you just over a week until Padilla returns, unless someone gets hot enough to hold the spot.
Zach Braddock (L)
Mitch Stetter (L) - 15-day DL as of May 15, 2011 (Labral irritation, left hip)
Brandon Kintzler - 15-day DL as of May 5, 2011 (Strained right triceps)
Takashi Saito - 15-day DL as of Apr 6, 2011 (Strained left hamstring)
Mitch Stetter - 15-day DL as of May 15, 2011 (Labral irritation, left hip)
***6/5/11***John Axford (3.29 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 16 S) earns his 13th straight save in a 6-5 Brewers win at the Marlins in 11 innings. Nothing seems to change with Axford who gives up a walk and a hit and still manages to work through the jam for the save. He threw just nine of his 17 pitches for strikes. To his credit, Axford often gets the job done, but it's rarely pretty. Despite being among the league leaders in saves with 16, Axford is a candidate for a severe meltdown due to his wildness. His stuff looks great, but he looks like a No. 2 closer in fantasy play. Axford may get Monday off after working in three straight games.
Joe Nathan - 15-day DL as of May 24, 2011 (Right flexor muscle strain)
Glen Perkins (L) - 15-Day DL a as of May 22, 2011 (Right oblique strain)
Kevin Slowey - 15-day DL as of May 21, 2011 (Abdominal strain)
Phil Dumatrait (L)
Jose Mijares (L)
Chuck James (L)
***6/6/11***Matt Capps (4.33 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 8 S) earns his first save in almost three weeks as he pitches the Twins past the Indians, 6-4. Capps walked the leadoff man but battled back with a strikeout and double-play ground out. He blew his last two save chances back on May 21st and 23rd, but Capps hasn't allowed a run in 4 outings since then. He's been erratic is the closer role in the past, and with the Twins struggling to string wins together, Capps is more of a low-end option at this time.
New York Mets:
Taylor Buchholz - 15-day DL as of May 30, 2011 (Right shoulder fatigue)
Tim Byrdak (L)
Mike O'Connor (L)
***6/7/11***Fernando Rodriguez (3.03 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 17 S) makes it 16 straight saves in a 2-1 Mets win at the Brewers. K-Rod finally flashes some dominance going 1-2-3 in the ninth with a pair of strike outs, but he topped out at just 90 MPH on the gun with his four-seam fastball. Instead, he used breaking pitches and changeups to get the job done. Rodriguez had given up eight earned runs over his last 4 1/3 innings on 11 hits, so this is at least a step in the right direction. Despite his 17 saves, K-Rod is looking more like a No. 2 option for closing games at this time. That he's recorded 16 saves since his last blown save is remarkable considering a shaky 1.52 WHIP and recent performance.
New York Yankees:
Rafael Soriano - 15-day DL as of May 14, 2011 (Sore right elbow)
Joba Chamberlain - 15-day DL as of June 6, 2011 (Right elbow flexor strain)
Boone Logan (L)
Pedro Feliciano (L) - 60-day DL as of Mar 22, 2011 (Strained left rotator cuff)
Damaso Marte (L) - 60-day DL as of Mar 30, 2011 (Left shoulder & labrum inflammation)
***6/5/11***Marino Rivera (1.90 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 16 S) produces his third straight save in a 5-3 Yankees win over the Angels. Rivera pitched himself into a jam this time out, allowing a pair of singles with one out before getting Torii Hunter to bounce into a game-ending double play. Baseball's active all-time saves leader finishes off No. 575, leaving him 26 away from the record Trevor Hoffman set last season. Rivera remains the elite option in fantasy play at closer.
Brian Fuentes (L)
Craig Breslow (L)
Bobby Cramer (L)
***6/4/11***Andrew Bailey (3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 0 S) blows his first save opportunity of the year in the 11th of an eventual 9-8 Athletics loss to the Red Sox in 14 innings. Bailey struck out two, gave up back to back doubles, intentionally walked Dustin Pedroia and then struck out Drew Sutton to finish his frame. Bailey touched 95 MPH on the radar gun a few times with his four-seam fastball. He's still the A's closer despite the shaky outing, and Bailey is good enough to re-emerge as a No. 1 closer in fantasy play.
Brad Lidge - 60-day DL as of Mar 25, 2011 (Strained rotator cuff)
-or- Ryan Madson
Antonio Bastardo (L)
J.C. Romero (L)
***6/6/11***Ryan Madson (2.08 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 13 S) makes it a perfect 13 for 13 in saves chances in a 3-1 Phillies win over the Dodgers. It wasn't a clean performance. Madson gave up double, single and RBI ground out before punching out the last two batters he faced. Madson has only allowed runs in four of his 26 innings, but he's given up five earned over his last seven. He's all but taken over Brad Lidge's closer job, and Lidge is now suffering from elbow pain while rehabbing his shoulder. Madson ranks as a high-end No. 2 closer due to his limited experience as a closer on a good team.
Joe Beimel (L)
Tony Watson (L)
Mike Crotta - 15-day DL as of May 11, 2011 (Right elbow inflammation)
Kevin Hart - 60-day DL as of Mar 18, 2011 (Right shoulder soreness)
***6/7/11***Joel Hanrahan (1.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 15 S) is 15 for 15 in saves chances as he closes out an 8-5 Pirates win over the Diamondbacks. Hanrahan struck out Kelly Johnson and Justin Upton in the ninth inning, giving him 25 K in 27 2/3 innings. He's limiting hits and walks and working his way up the closer rankings steadily as a potential No. 1 option, though is track record suggests he's a notch lesser than that tier.
St. Louis Cardinals:
Trever Miller (L)
Bryan Tallet (L)
Bryan Augenstein - 60-day DL as of Apr 13, 2011 (Right groin strain)
***6/7/11***Fernando Salas (1.88 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 11 S) earns his first save in exactly one week in a 7-4 Cardinals win at the Astros. Salas worked two innings on the night for his 11th save of the season and struck out three while yielding a run. His short time in the closer role in St. Louis gives him a small sample size in terms of his numbers, but they're good numbers. Salas remains a No. 2 closer. His 44 pitches make him a candidate for a day off on Wednesday, so look for Eduardo Sanchez to get a shot at a save chance for the Cardinals.
San Diego Padres:
Cory Luebke (L)
Joe Thatcher (L) - 60-day DL as of Mar 22, 2011 (Strained left shoulder)
***6/7/11***Heath Bell (1.73 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 17 S) is a model of efficiency in locking up his 10th straight save, a 2-0 Padres win over the Rockies. Bell throws nine of his 12 pitches for strikes and gives up a single and uncorks a wild pitch along the way, but the outcome was never in doubt. Bell remains an elite source of saves in all fantasy baseball formats.
San Francisco Giants:
Jeremy Affeldt (L)
Javier Lopez (L)
Santiago Casilla - 15-day DL as of Apr 1, 2011 (Right elbow inflammation)
***6/5/11***Brian Wilson (3.00 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 17 S) owns five straight saves after dominating the Rockies in a 2-1 Giants victory. Just when we doubted Wilson's recent run of outings he produces his best inning since May 19th. Wilson goes 1-2-3 for the first time since May 20th and strikes out a pair of Rockies along the way. We know he's a No. 1 closer, and this may be a step toward pitching that way on a consistent basis.
David Aardsma - 15-day DL as of Mar 22, 2011 (Recovery from labral left hip surgery)
Aaron Laffey (L)
***6/5/11***Brandon League (4.68 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 16 S) works a perfect ninth for his 7th straight save in a 9-6 Mariners win over the Rays. League hasn't allowed a run since May 13th, but he isn't quite as dominant as other closers (.251 career avg. against). While the pitching-heavy Mariners are winning close games, however, League is a viable option for saves. He's converting at an 84% rate which is good enough to be trusted as a No. 2 option. He may suffer through periods of ineffectiveness going forward.
Tampa Bay Rays:
J.P. Howell (L)
Cesar Ramos (L)
***6/7/11***Kyle Farnsworth (1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 12 S) picks up his seventh straight save in a 4-1 Rays win at the Angels. Farnsworth struck out one over a perfect inning to collect save No. 12 on the night. More strikeouts would be welcomed as that 5.7 K/9 rate is underwhelming to say the least. Still, Farnsworth is limting hits (14 in 22 innigs) and owns just one walk in 2011. He's no better than a No. 2 closer, but he's pitching like a No. 1 for the time being. Having pitched on four of the last five days, however, look for Farnsworth to earn a well-earned day off or two.
Darren Oliver (L)
Arthur Rhodes (L)
Michael Kirkman (L)
Darren O'Day - 60-day DL as of Apr 27, 2011 (Torn labrum, left hip)
Tobin Mason - 60-day DL as of Apr 20, 2011 (Right elbow inflammation)
***6/5/11***Neftali Feliz (1.25 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 13 S) works his third straight save in a 2-0 Ranger win over the Indians. Feliz has been spotless over the three chances and looks to be restoring his No. 1 closer status. He should be active in all fantasy formats and should continue to pitch at a high level.
Toronto Blue Jays:
-or- Frank Francisco
-or- Octavio Dotel
-or- Jason Frasor
Mark Rzepczynski (L)
Luis Perez (L)
Jesse Carlson - 60-day DL as of Mar 29, 2011 (Strained left shoulder, biceps)
***6/7/11***Jon Rauch (3.65 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 7 S) earns his second straight save in an 8-5 Blue Jays win over the Royals. Rauch went 1-2-3 without a strikeout, and he owns just 17 Ks in 24 2/3 innings, hardly the stuff of your higher-end closer. That's why Rauch is in his typical battle for a closer job with Frank Francisco. At this point Rauch apears to be winning the battle. He's earned both of the Blue Jays' save opportunities over the past 12 days, and he's pitched decently over his last five outings. Francisco has gone the opposite direction. Rauch should continue to see save opportunities while he's going this well.
Sean Burnett (L)
Doug Slaten (L) - 15-day DL as of Jun 4, 2011 (Ulnar neuritis, left elbow)
Chad Gaudin - 15-day DL as of Apr 26, 2011 (Right shoulder inflammation)
Elvin Ramirez - 60-day DL as of Mar 30, 2011 (Right shoulder soreness)
***6/7/11***Drew Storen (2.59 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 12 S) makes quick work of the Giants for his third straight save in a 2-1 Nationals victory. Storen needed just six pitches to get through the inning, throwing four for strikes. He's mixed in some stellar outings with some real downers of late. That makes him more of a No. 2 option going forward. Storen has pitched in three straight games, so he could be in line for a night off soon.
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