Last night was a special night if you ask me. No, not because Bryce Harper hit his first home run (though it was pretty sweet). And no, not ’cause it was the season premier of The Bachelorette (a helicopter, really?)
Last night was special because not one save was blown by a closer. Not one.
These days it seems every night features at least one blown save, or often times more. When one of my closers enters a game with a one-run lead, I’m trembling. With a two-run lead, my breath quickens. With a three-run lead, I don’t think there are any noticeable signs, but I could be wrong.
In memoriam of last night, let’s do a recap of all of the closers who protected leads successfully:
Addison Reed — White Sox
We got a satisfying, complete look at the White Sox closing trio last night. Hector Santiago pitched the seventh, Matt Thornton shut down the middle of the lineup in the eighth, and then Reed got the call to close out the ninth and picked up his third save. My guess is Ventura stays true to his word that the three are truly in a committee and one of Thornton or Santiago gets the next opp.
The White Sox are playing a game of closer hot potato with the first to blow a save receiving a lesser piece of the timeshare. Based on skill, that points to Santiago being the most likely to drop out of the picture, but with closer hot potato anything can happen! It was nice to see Ventura still trusting Reed despite his Mother’s Day meltdown.
One last note: Jesse Crain will likely come off the DL today and also could get in the mix.
|Ladies and gents, Addison Reed. Not related to Elliot Reed. (US Presswire)|
Sean Burnett — Nationals
Okay, so not every closer did his job last night since Henry Rodriguez got bailed out big by Sean Burnett, who induced a game-ending double play that cleaned a Rodriguez induced mess. While converting just one out, H-Rod managed to walk three Padres before getting yanked from the game.
You may recall that in Rodriguez’s last appearance he also blew the save via Joey Votto’s walk-off grand slam. So in terms of leashes, Rodriguez has to have his held tight right to his neck. H-Rod will probably stay the closer for now though one more blown save and I’d presume he’s out. Brad Lidge and Drew Storen are both a few weeks from returning either way.
Rafael Soriano — Yankees
With a possible DL stint in line for David Robertson (oblique/ribcage strain), Soriano pitched a clean ninth for his second save. Soriano will likely have a chance to run away with the Yankees closing gig.
Rafael Dolis — Cubs
Dolis impressively struck out two Cardinals in a clean ninth to pick up his fourth save. His job looks safe for now but things will likely get more interesting when he starts pitching in line with how his poor peripherals say he should, and when Carlos Marmol comes off the DL in a couple of weeks.
Joel Hanrahan— Pirates
Hanrahan is one of the safer closer options out there but even he isn’t quite right with an uncharacteristic nine walks in his 12 innings this year. It was nice to see him throw 11 of 15 pitches for strikes last night as he picked up save number seven.
Frank Francisco — Mets
Yes, Francisco got the save. And yes, he gave up a run. Hey, on the bright side it was only one! I’m guessing Mets fans would rather see anyone over Francisco in the closer role, even Oliver Perez. Okay, maybe not Ollie but at least Jon Rauch or Bobby Parnell.
Change is likely imminent here.
Sean Marshall — Reds
Marshall picked up save six, adding two more strikeouts in the process. The K rate is high (13.15) and walk rate low (2.08) so you have to like him going forward.
Jonathan Broxton — Royals
I’ll give props to anyone who picks up a save against the Rangers, which is what Broxton did last night for his eighth of the season. Granted, he didn’t face the meaty part of that lineup, but it’s still been a nice comeback year for the former ace closer.
Chris Perez — Indians
Once again Perez is the major league saves leader, now with 12. Note that a guy I think could replace Perez if he loses the job, Nick Hagadone, served up a blast to Ryan Doumit in the eighth inning. Hagadone still has an impressive 1.74 ERA for the year.
Kenley Jansen — Dodgers
Jansen shut the door on the D-backs for his fourth save and has been effective as the closer since his inevitable takeover of Javy Guerra‘s ninth inning job. He could be a top-tier closer in next year’s drafts.
Santiago Casilla — Giants
Casilla pitched a messy ninth, allowing an unearned run, but still got the save. It was save eight for the man filling in for Brian Wilson, He’s filled in admirably and looks like he’ll keep the role all year.
Quick reminder and a Tout Wars update
I keep track of every closer situation at Closer Watch. I know I’ve been unreliable in the past, but the past few weeks I’ve been updating it basically every night and as far as I know it’s the most up-to-date closer chart online.
In Tout Wars this week I picked up Christian Friedrich for $2 FAAB dollars (looked great last night) and Jon Rauch for $5. I’m still sittin’ pretty in the standings, dominating the pitching stats and holding my own in hitting. There’s still a long way to go till the end of the season, though.